Monday, June 29, 2015

Louisiana Teacher Blogger Meet Up In Review

On Saturday, I was lucky enough to be a part of the 1st Annual Louisiana Teacher Blogger Meet Up. I only started playing with the idea of really blogging and getting serious with my Teachers Pay Teachers store in April when I created my Instagram account. The event was publicized only shortly after so I like to think this was all meant to be because of the perfect timing!

The event was put together by the amazing Jasmine of Buzzing with Mrs. McClain and Kristi from Pelicans and Pipsqueaks. Our meet up was held at the Mayfair Lab School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana (Thanks to Jessica from Pride and Primary for hosting us!). From New Orleans, that's about an hour drive, so I packed up and hit the road early (Confession: It was the earliest I had woken up all summer!).

Teacher Tool Gift Exchange, Business Cards, and Starbucks--Ready to hit the road!
When I arrived at the school, I was so excited to meet so many people that I had been chatting with in Instagram in real life! Everyone was so welcoming and the room set up was amazing!

Loved our sunglasses theme! Perfect for a summer meet up.

We had two awesome presentations. One about blogging from Jessica from Pride and Primary and one about Teachers Pay Teachers by Mia from Putting Words in Your Mouth

In the blogging presentation, I found out about a bunch of linkys I want to join in on! I also learned that I should include some non-teaching anecdotes here as well. Maybe there will be some future posts on living in a small space without losing your sanity or decorating and DIYing on a budget.

In the Teachers Pay Teacher presentation I learned about sending products with artists' work to them, seller referrals, making freebies a smaller piece of a larger product, and the benefits of becoming a premium seller.

Such great information and discussion all around.

What would a meet up be without door prizes? I won this beautiful Vera Bradley bag. 

During our meet up, we also had some great grade-level cluster discussions. The K-2 group discussed homework, independent reading, behavior management, and more! It was so great to get everyone's perspectives on these topics.

We closed out the day with a Teacher Tool Exchange. I ended up getting this awesome gift bag from Anita from Nita Marie's Classroom Creations.

Starbucks, to-do lists, sticky notes, and push pins--essential Teacher Tools.

I cannot believe how fast the day went! We were able to grab a group picture before we left.

I also grabbed this picture with Kristi from Pelicans and Pipsqueaks. Kristi was the first person to find me on Instagram and identify me as a Lousiana Teacher Blogger. I'm so grateful to have connected with her and this group of wonderful ladies! Also, this picture is proof that I need selfie practice #thatsmyfingerinthepicture.

Look out for the Pelicans and Pipsqueaks blog launching soon!

I went home inspired, rejuvenated, and ready to really get going with this blog and my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I'm so excited to be getting a new look in July!

I also went home with some awesome swag!

It was such a great Saturday meeting amazing teachers from around the state. These ladies are an inspiration! I can't wait to do it again!

Would you like to win your own Swag Bag from the Lousiana Teacher Blogger Meet Up? Just enter with the Rafflecopter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TpT Seller Challenge Week 2: Dare to Dream

NOTE: My blog is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Please pardon our mess while we get a new look!


I'm a little bit late linking up and blogging about Week 2 of the TpT Seller Challenge. Last week was busy getting ready to celebrate my boyfriend's birthday. We had such a fun "staycation" in our own city. 

Thank you again to Emily from Third in Hollywood, Ashley from Teach Create Motivate, Jen from Sparkling in Second, and Amber from Peppy Zesty Teacherista for organizing this challenge. This challenge, combined with my great experience last weekend at the 1st Annual Louisiana Teacher Blogger Meet Up (post coming soon!), has been amazing inspiration for this journey.

Week 2 was called "Dare to Dream."

I sure love to dream big, but I tried to keep my dreams realistic for this week's challenge. I know I am a small fish in a very big pond on Teachers Pay Teachers and it is going to take time, dedication, and commitment to reach many of the goals I have.

Here are my dreams:

Build My Brand: The first step in this journey is just getting people to read what I write on this blog, visit my store, and get interested in what I am doing. I know the key to this is to ensure I am creating engaging products that really work with students. I look forward to making things specifically for my students and making sure they love them and learn from them before I put them in my store. I would love to have teachers who consistently trust my products and come back for more.

Become Better: I have already learned so much just by being a Teacher Pay Teachers customer as well as networking with other teachers on various social media platforms. I want to continue to meet new people, learn about new teaching approaches, and use my creativity to reach all kinds of learners. I believe teachers should model lifelong learning. I am currently teaching myself how to use Illustrator and I would love to learn how to code.

Balance It All: It can be hard enough to just be a classroom teacher and balancing friends and family. Taking on a small business on top of that will be challenging. I need to make sure that I am always doing this out of a love of teaching, learning, and creating and that I still carve out time for my personal life. Building this business would be a dream come true to also pay off the student loans that I have accumulated. Any money that I earn on Teacher Pay Teachers that I can put into paying off my loans would help me balance my finances in a more ideal way.

Do you think these dreams are realistic? What advice do you have on creating that work/life balance?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

My Summer Reading List

Y'all, I cannot believe I only have 2 weeks of summer break left. We got out May 23rd and go back for professional development July 13th. Kids start back August 3rd. Such a short summer!

Anyway, I have been doing a lot of reading this summer in my free time. I really try and keep it up during the school year, but most of the time, I just pass out when I lay my head on the pillow!

I am linking up with Lucky to Be in First and sharing some books I have read, am reading, and want to read!

First up, here are some books that are on my "To Read" pile. 

1. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Condo. I read about this book on one of my favorite lifestyle blogs enJOY it. I consider myself an organized person, which is why I think reading about organizing appeals to me!

2. Great Habits Great Readers by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo. I have read Driven by Data and Leverage Leadership, also by Bambrick-Santoyo and I'm excited to dig into this book that a co-worker lent me.

3. Teach Like a Pirate by Dave Burgess. So many people have been raving about this book that it had to go on my must-read list.

4. Devil in the White City by Erik Larson. This book is on my shelf because my boyfriend owns it and highly recommends it. It's about a serial killer at the World's Fair.

5. Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. To Kill a Mockingbird was one of my favorite books I read in school and so I am excited to read this.

6. Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. The cover of this book grabbed me when I was in Bthe bookstore a few weeks ago and the back cover blurb only got me more interested. I love that these are strategies we teacher in Reading Workshop and here I am doing it in real life. It goes to show you the importance of teaching good reading habits that can be used for a lifetime.

Now here for some recommendations for you!

1. Life, Animated by Ron Suskind. This is one of the most amazing, impactful books I have ever read. It is about a boy with autism who learned to communicate with his family through Disney dialogue. 

2. Growing Readers by Kathy Collins. I have been working my way through this book this summer and have been scribbling all over the margins. I am writing some curriculum for Reader's Workshop this summer and have used many ideas from this book.

3. Hope Against Hope by Sarah Carr. Nearing the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it is important to reflect on where we have come from in education in New Orleans and where we still have to go. This book has powerful stories from various perspectives.

4. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. This book made me laugh out loud. I adore Mindy Kaling (thank goodness Hulu picked up The Mindy Project) and she did not disappoint. I can't wait for her new book to come out.

5. Yes, Please by Amy Poehler. I clearly love books by funny women. I listened to this one on a long road trip and it was fantastic. I am not a mother, but I found her experiences becoming and being a mother telling and hilarious.

What's on your reading list this summer? Be sure to link up with Lucky to be in First to share!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge Week 1: Makeover Madness

NOTE: My blog is UNDER CONSTRUCTION. Please pardon our mess while we get a new look!


I had so much fun participating in Week 1 of the TpT Seller Challenge. Thank you Emily from Third in Hollywood, Ashley from Teach Create Motivate, Jen from Sparkling in Second, and Amber from Peppy Zesty Teacherista for organizing this challenge. I need this kick in the pants to dive in to "reno-ing" my TpT store and starting to take this whole venture seriously.

Here are the products that got a makeover in Week 1:

My Weekly Homework Cover Sheets went from a 1 pager to my very first editable product with 60 different versions. One of my goals for my products is that they are adaptable and can meet the needs of many different teachers and classroom situations. One of the worst things is downloading something and then realizing it doesn't work for you. Not only did the contents get a redo, but also the cover. I'm still working on my "look" but this 2015 version sure looks better than the 2013 one already.

I use these Writing Conference Logs everyday to keep track of my observations and goal setting conversations with my students. This cover got a big makeover and I added 2 different logs (one whole class snapshot and one log for individual student data).

This was my final makeover. My Weekly Assessment Report FREEBIE got new fonts, a new cover, and a new layout. It also now has a weekly and a monthly version. I use this form to update parents on how students are doing on tests and quizzes in an easy and efficient way.

Throughout the makeover process, I learned about adding transparent backgrounds in PowerPoint, created some clipart spiral arrows, and added to my clipart collection. 

I've loved seeing everyone else's makeovers! Be sure to link up on Pinterest and social media!