Monday, May 2, 2016

10 Reasons to Shop TpT This Tuesday and Wednesday! TpT Appreciates Teachers! (Rafflecopter and Linky)

I'm SO excited! There are so many great reasons to shop TpT this week, and I'm lucky to have ten of them right here!
Enter to Win One of Two $10 TpT Gift Cards! 

You may have heard that TpT recently celebrated 10 years of providing terrific products at low prices to busy teachers. As part of the celebration, TpT had a giveaway for gift cards to be used on the site. Sellers were encouraged to use the gift cards to help promote the sale. Entries were limited to the first 100 sellers to respond. I figured a had little chance of winning, but I entered anyway. Guess what? I won! Today in my email I received not one, but TWO digital TpT gift cards, each one valued at $10! Woo-hoo! Now I get to pass my good fortune on to a couple of other teachers, too! Enter to win the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In the meantime, take a look at all the shops on TpT that have lowered their prices for this sale! Fill up your cart with merchandise up to 28% off regular prices! Make sure to check out my store, too, as I have a wide variety of products to offer, including End of the Year Lap Books  for upper grades ELA, I Can Statement Posters (core subjects for grades 4 and 5), differentiated math task cards, upper grades social studies and more! Here are just a few examples, from 139 products in my store:
End of the Year Detective Theme Lap Book
I Can Statements Grade 4 Third Quarter
I Can Statements Grade 5 Fourth Quarter
Differentiated Math Task Cards
Social Studies Resources

Ready to head to checkout? Make sure to enter the special code CELEBRATE at checkout in order to receive your full discount on purchases!

Finally, take a look at these blogs below. Each one highlights special products on sale this week! It's a win-win! (If you're a seller, please feel free to link-up, blog posts only please! :-)

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

One Little Thing Wednesday

I'm joining Enchanting Elementary for her first "One Little Thing Wednesday." Today's post is about one little thing I drink at school.

One Little School Day Drink
I don't care for coffee at all, never have. (Sacrilege, you say?) I just never liked the smell, or the bitterness. Yuck!

Of course, with all the talking we teachers do, I need something to keep my voice from cracking throughout the day. Although I usually carry a bottle of water with me everywhere I go, I do have one special treat beverage that I consume from time to time. It's warm, it's sweet, and it makes me happy the rest of the day. Yes, I'm talking about that holiday drink, peppermint hot chocolate. I find that EVERYTHING is better with chocolate, and a little peppermint opens up the airways and puts a spring in my step. :D
Mmmm, hot chocolate!

With Peppermint, Please!
What about you? What's your "One Little Drink?" Head over to the link-up and join in the fun!

"See you" next time!

Monday, April 11, 2016

5 "T"'s for Teaching Probability

Do you want to teach probability to your students, but are you running out of ideas? Use these tips to help your students learn and remember probability in a way that's meaningful to them.
1. Treat probability as a "treat." By this time of year you're tired. Your students are tired. Everybody wants a little reward for all their hard work leading up to testing, so why not treat your students to a little sweetness during your math block? I used Starburst candies for this example, but you could also use different flavors of lollipops or other individually wrapped candies.

Use Various Flavors of Candy as a Treat

Start with a paper bag and the wrapped candy pieces. Show the class the various flavors of candy, and count the number of each one as you place them in the paper bag. Write the flavors and totals on the board for the class to see, along with the total number of candy pieces in the bag. Ask for a volunteer to come up and choose a flavor from the bag, without looking. Once a volunteer is chosen, ask him/her what flavor they like the best from the flavors in the bag, then ask the class what the probability is that he/she will get what he/she wants when they choose one (without looking) from the bag. Make sure you have enough of the candy to share with every child in the class when you are finished with the lesson!

2. Technology: use computers to make probability fun. As part of your math centers, have students use this free online game to practice their probability-using skills. Make sure to include the link to the game on your weekly newsletter for students to play at home. 

Play Probability Fair on the Computers
Another use of technology is to turn on the Brainpop clip. Kids love Brainpop, and they love animation. This cute clip helps students understand the basics when probability is involved. 

Turn on Brainpop Probability
3. Try tales, dog tales, that is! The first tale involves a lovable pooch named Penny, from It's Probably Penny and what probably could or could not happen this weekend. This is an adorable picture book to use during reading time with your class, so that you can activate your students' prior knowledge about things that often happen in their own lives, or that probably could happen, as well as things that could not happen.

Activate Prior Knowledge with Probability Books

The second tale is called The Runaway Puppy, and it's about another puppy named Brada. When Brada escapes, the children race to help find her. First, however, they have to think about the most likely places the missing pooch would have gone. This is a terrific book to include in your classroom library, and will easily become a favorite for your students.

What's the Probability She Ran Here, or There?
4. Tune it up! Use music to engage your musical learners. Then use dance moves to involve your kinesthetic students! Use your school's search engine to locate a probability song or video and get your kids singing and dancing their way to learning about probability! Here's a sample from YouTube to get you started.

5. Try task cards during math centers. They are terrific for hands-on learners and colorful enough for visual learners. The best ones are differentiated so that students can work at their own levels. This set has three different levels for each probability task, and 36 task cards in all. It even includes answer keys, so students can check their own work, if desired.

Probability Task Cards
I hope you have some new ideas for teaching probability to your students. Whether you treat it as a treat, use technology, try some dog tales, tune it up, or try some task cards, there no limit to what you can do to make these last weeks of math instruction interesting and fun! Have a fabulous rest of your year!

"See you" next time!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Currently at Carol's Teaching Garden!

Okay, so I'm more than a week late, but I promise I have a worthy excuse. However, I'll get to that later.

First of all, I'm listening to our next-door neighbor mow his lawn. Since every property here is at least one "Green Acre," he's been busy for awhile. That means it's officially SPRING!!! as the grass doesn't grow much in the winter.

Do You Remember Green Acres?
Loving - my classroom has a chalkboard theme, and I have purchased several resources from other sellers to match it. However, every week I have been typing up plain old boring "I Can . . ." statements on white paper and posting them on my whiteboard. The principals around here require that these be large enough for the students to see and read from across the room, so that was a LOT of boring on my boards. However, I have been creating new, colorful "I Can . . . " statements with a chalkboards brights theme to match the rest of my classroom environment, and I'm really happy with the results. They're in my TpT store under "I Can Statements for Tennessee," but they'll work for any fourth grade classroom using the Common Core, since they are exactly the same thing. These ones are for math, but I have all the core subjects covered in my store.

Thinking - about a lovely message I received from a chairperson for a Reading Conference in a nearby state. She sent a message through FB that she knew some teachers who followed my TpT store, and that she was inviting me to apply to present at the reading conference next fall! Now, I know that doesn't mean I would automatically get the gig, but it was so sweet to be asked to apply, and to know that there are teachers who recommended me! Sometimes this whole social media thing gets me down. It seems so impersonal, but this was a welcome friendly surprise!

What I Imagine It Would Be Like . . . Right?!
Wanting - my own lightbox to take better pictures of my products. I feel like I pretty much know what I'm doing when it comes to creating products, but since Pinterest changed its algorithms my advertising skills STINK!!! I have been following several other teacher-sellers as they discuss the lightbox set-ups they use, and I want to jump in and get started. Here's  a link to Tabitha Carrro's SmartPhone Marketing School's post where she talks about how she set up hers.

Needing - This is where I could easily break down and cry. Our beloved kitty Boots, a.k.a. "Mr. Fluffykins" has been extremely ill with pancreatitis. On one of his many trips to the vet this past two weeks, I honestly thought it would be our last day with him. He's had so many shots, pills, and force-feedings that I wondered if he would make it through. Just in the past couple days he has returned to eating and drinking on his own (a restricted veterinary diet, though), purring, and acting like himself again. He goes back to the vet again tomorrow, and I am praying he makes a complete recovery.

"Mr. Fluffykins" on the Mend
EGGS-plain my store name - It's pretty simple really. My first name is Carol. I love to garden and I think of my plants as my "babies" to nurture to their full potential. I think of teaching children in the same way. Each student is different and beautiful in their own way, and I can either help or hinder their growth based on my actions. So, I'd better learn everything I can in order to help them grow up to be their best.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my Currently! Please leave a comment! (I LOVE reading comments! It makes me feel like I'm not alone in the blogging world!)

Then head over to Farley's post and join in the fun!
"See you" next time!

Monday, March 21, 2016

If You Don't Want Instagram to Decide for You

By now you've heard or read about the changes coming to Instagram in the coming months. Here's what Instagram had to say about it:
Instagram Will Make Decisions for You, Like It or Not
"The order of photos and videos in your feed will be based on the likelihood you’ll be interested in the content, your relationship with the person posting and the timeliness of the post. As we begin, we’re focusing on optimizing the order — all the posts will still be there, just in a different order.
If your favorite musician shares a video from last night’s concert, it will be waiting for you when you wake up, no matter how many accounts you follow or what time zone you live in. And when your best friend posts a photo of her new puppy, you won’t miss it.
We’re going to take time to get this right and listen to your feedback along the way. You’ll see this new experience in the coming months."
Does this sound familiar? That's because Facebook used similar language when it switched your feed to one based on an algorithm, starting a few months ago. They said you would see less "spam" in your feed as a result of the change, but that you would still see posts from people you follow and like. If that was not your experience, or If you didn't like the changes for other reasons, you might have hopped over to Instagram to escape them. I know I did.
Unfortunately, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Just like Facebook started editing our feeds, Instagram soon will, too. That is, unless enough people sign this petition to make them stop and take notice. Maybe we can convince them to leave the Instagram feeds alone. I've heard of many companies changing their minds about their plans or actions, based on these petitions on
If you would like to convince the powers that be at Facebook and Instagram to leave your feed in chronological order, please click on this link, or on the Instagram photo/caption above. You'll be taken to the petition asking that Instagram leave your feed the way it is now, or at least let you decide what you want to see, instead of making that decision for you.
Thanks for helping bring about positive change in the world!
"See you" next time,

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Enormously Improved and Creative!

I'm so excited to see new technology being used! It can lead to marvelous improvements, especially when creatively used by inspired people!

My New Store Front
I already had a logo and store banner created by Laine, from A Little Peace of Africa. (She also designed this blog, obviously. :) I had recently seen rotating quote area presentations in some stores on TpT, but it wasn't until recently that I found out that Laine had begun designing these, too!

Math Slide

The pictures hardly do these designs justice, though. You have to see the presentation in action to fully appreciate the genius here. Each letter and graphic appears one at a time, until the entire slide is complete. Then the presentation shifts to the next slide. It's really cool to watch!

Social Studies Slide
It's kind of hypnotic to watch, LOL! If you want one of your own, just contact Laine and ask her to fit you in to her schedule. I only had to wait a week, and I'm extremely happy with her creations!

Thanks for visiting!

"See you" next time!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Healing Hearts for Carina

" I wish you could meet my friend Carina. Vibrant is the perfect word to describe her. She is the one that everyone always wants to have as a friend, and the teacher that everyone wants in their grade level. She is an amazing mom and a fabulous wife. She is kind and thoughtful beyond measure.
Tornero Family Fundraiser

Carina and her sweet little family are going through the most heart-breaking of times as they deal with the loss of their baby girl, Chloe, who passed away very unexpectedly. As you can imagine, this is an excruciatingly painful time for them.

On top of all of the medical expenses, Carina is facing her own health issues, and the bills are mounting. My goal is to completely eradicate all of the bills.

I know that nothing can replace the loss that this family is dealing with, but this is what I, along with the help of so many generous sellers and buyers, can do to help.

Thank you so very much to all of the Teachers Pay Teachers sellers who have reached out with kind words and support and who have donated products for these bundles. Without them, this fundraiser would not be possible."

One of the unique blessings that comes with being a TpT seller is the opportunity to give back to the community by donating proceeds from popular products to a good cause. I am grateful to help this family in any way I can. Donating my product was such an easy thing to do for a family in need. You can help, too.

Click on the link to the bundle that matches your grade level. Take a look at the preview for the bundle. If it's something that would benefit you and your classroom, I hope you will make a purchase. Each bundle is worth almost $100.00 is the items were purchased separately, but is on sale for only $30.00. That's a savings for you of almost $70.00. Every penny of the purchase price will go to help the family in need, too.

Take a look at the following bundles by clicking on the picture.

K-1 Bundle Set #1

You will find the following products included in this bundle:

K-1 Bundle Set #2

Grades 2-3 Bundle Set #1

Grades 2-3 Bundle Set #2

Grades 4-5 Bundle

Clipart Bundle
You will find the following products included in this bundle:

I hope you find something that works for your classroom. Thank you for taking the time to help this family.

How to Create QR Codes for Free

I love free stuff, and I think most people do, too. Last time I wrote a post about Ten Ways to Use QR Codes in Your Classroom to make teaching easier. Hopefully you've played around with the technology a bit now, and you're ready to try using it in your room. This post will help you do that, and it's super easy.

First, open the following website by clicking on the highlighted words in this sentence, or on the picture's caption. 

Click Here to Open QR
Follow the numbered directions to create your QR code, starting with #1: Data Type. I chose to link to a website, but you can choose anything from the list. The following picture shows this highlighted in red.

Choose Your Data Type
Next, open a new tab on your computer and go to the site for which you want to create a QR code. For this example, I am going to create a link to Kiddle, which is Google's new image search engine for kids. Here's what the site looks like. (You can check it out by clicking on the caption, if you want.) 

Kiddle Safe for Kids
Next I'm going to highlight and copy the URL of the site, which is shown at the top of the next photo.

Copy the URL
Go back to the tab with QR Stuff open. Paste the URL you just copied into the box on step #2, like this.

Paste the URL Here
If you are using this site for business, you can sign up for tracking to find out how many people use the QR code. Click here if that's you. (Otherwise, don't worry about it.)

URL Shortener for Business Tracking
If you want your QR code to be in a color other than black, you can choose other colors on Step #3. If not, skip to the last step.

Want a Different Color QR Code?
Now your code is ready. Click the "Download QR Code" button for your free QR code. 

Click "Download Now" to Get Your Free QR Code
It should appear almost instantly on your screen, like this:
You Free QR Code Will Appear on Your Screen

I suggest you rename the code, so that you can easily find it again later. Just double-click on the current name and type the name you want. I always leave the part that says, "qrcode" so I can search for them easily on my computer.

Press "Enter" to keep the new name.

Now that you have your free new QR code, how do you print it and use it? Simple.

First, open your favorite word processing or presentation software. I like PowerPoint for its ease of use. Add a text box and/or type your instructions. For this example, I'm just going to keep it simple.

Type Title and Directions into Your Document
Next, add the QR code. In PowerPoint I click on "Insert Picture" or "Insert Photo." 
Click on "Insert Picture"
Then I click "Picture from File" in the drop-down menu. 
Click on "Picture from File"
I click on "Downloads." Then I find the file name I created and double-click on it to add it to my PowerPoint.
Follow These Steps to Add the QR Code to Your Document

If I want to change the size, I left-click on the QR code and then click on "Format" in the drop-down menu.
Lets-click to adjust the Size of the QR Code

In the new pop-up menu, click on "Size," and make sure that the aspect ratio is set to "Lock." Then use the arrow keys to adjust the QR code to the size you want. Then click "OK."
Follow the Steps to Adjust the Size
If your QR code is not centered, simply click and drag to the desired location.

Finally, save your document, print, and post in your room. It's ready for your students to use!
Print Your Finished Document!
I hope you have enjoyed reading about creating your own QR codes for free. If you do this for all the Internet sites you want your students to use, you will save yourself oodles of time in your classroom, plus you'll have far fewer interruptions during center time. 

I would love to hear your experiences with QR codes, or any suggestions you might have for future posts. Please leave a comment below.

"See you" next time!
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