Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Teachers Pay Teachers Conference 2014 ~ We're Back!

The Teachers Pay Teachers Conference in Las Vegas was beyond supercharged! 
Wow...just wow...
We're sort of rested, but pretty much have been living off adrenaline for the past few days.

We're not going to lie though...
We think we're experiencing something we made up called Presentation Postpartum...
And, this was not in the presenter agreement we signed...
We are so sad it's over. 
We want a redo!!

We feel like we spent every waking moment in the months leading up to the conference planning our A to Z with TpT, Master the Basics session. Truth be told, it was our very first presentation of this magnitude and husbands say hindsight says we may have been freaking out just a little. 

Like this moment when we saw all these chairs...We might have almost barfed. But, we didn't...phewf!
And, we are so glad we didn't because all these poor people would've thought we were basically gross or weird...or both. HA! 
Instead, we hid our butterflies deep in our stomachs and took an Oscar moment selfie with our amazing first audience. We love it and this is being printed and framed as we type. Thank you!

 Teachers Pay Teachers has been an incredible journey for us, and the time we spent in Vegas ranks right up there with our Wedding Days and the birth of our children. Our moms laughed at that statement and we might have gotten an, "Oh, honey...", but it's true. It was electric! 
 At the end of the day, Teachers Pay Teachers hosted a Happy Hour...See, TpT is AMAZING! We had an opportunity to get our picture taken with all of the presenters from the conference. We will cherish this moment for the rest of our lives. Truly...
And no, the bottom picture was not taken after many cocktails. That's just how happy we all naturally were :)
There have been a few times in our lives when we have been moved by others. This conference moved us in ways we cannot believe. The friendships we made are true. The passion for teaching we feel when around these people is real. This was by far the BEST staff meeting we have ever been to...And if you're a teacher, you know that the words BEST and Staff Meeting rarely go together. HA! 

These were some of the best of the best all in one place and it was beyond gratifying to know education is in some pretty amazing hands with these teachers from all over the globe. 
We are so very proud to call them friends.

We truly believe that Teachers Pay Teachers is making a difference for all of us ~ teachers and students alike. 
 TpT is allowing us to break free from the confines of our own classrooms and collaborate like never before. 
We are forever grateful...

If you've been contemplating taking the Teachers Pay Teachers seller's leap, now's the time! 
You can do it...Sign up {here}.

If you missed the Conference but would like the handouts from our TpT Basics session, you can download them from our TpT Shop...
If you're looking for a quick, easy and EDITABLE (yes, you can enter your own info on the computer) way to keep your own TpT business organized, we created this TpT & Me Editable Business Binder which we shared during our session. 
100 Pages to keep your TpT Business organized and in its place...
Which for the record is not in piles upon the bedroom floor. HA! 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Waking Up in Vegas ~ 5 Days of Giveaways!

This giveaway comes with a theme song...We can't help ourselves.
We've packed our bags and we're ready to go! We're heading to the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference in Vegas BABY! 
But, we aren't leaving any of you behind.
We are leaving you with 5 days of giveaways...Vegas style!

Day 1 ~ Jackpot!
Now's your chance to win $25 from each of our stores. So step right up and take a spin because Dragonflies in First and Fluttering Through First Grade are ready for you to WIN! 

Enter the Rafflecopter Below.
All Waking Up in Vegas winners will be announced Monday, July 14th
When we've all slept off Vegas.

There's MUCH more to come...Today's only Day 1.
After today, you'll have to follow our Facebook pages {here} and {here}to find out which daily game we'll play! 

So blow on those dice, rub your lucky charms and get ready to wake up with us in Vegas for the next 5 days. 
Good luck!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday America Sale!

Happy Birthday America! We're celebrating with 20% off our entire TpT Shop through Sunday. 

We're off to party like it's 1999 1776! 

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Throwback Thursday ~ Happy Birthday America!

It's time for Throwback Thursday again! This week, we're bringing you all things America! 
Happy 4th of July!

Originally Posted October 18, 2013
Liberty Bell How To
Once upon a time, we found a pin...
Unfortunately, it led to nowhere. If it's yours, please let us know! We loved it and are firm believers in giving credit where credit is due.

We've been studying American Symbols as part of our Social Studies learning and knew our class would love making Liberty Bells similar to the pin above. Unfortunately, we couldn't personally get the aluminum foil to look as pretty as the pin above, so we were worried that our first graders would have a hard time too.

We thought and thought, and finally the bells went off!
We put our own twist on Liberty Bells, and our kids loved them.

Here's What We Did...
 We found cardboard planting pots at the 99 Cents Store. The texture and thickness is PERFECT!
They looked crackly and lovely. We were excited.
On Day 1, we set up a painting station at the table outside of our classroom.
 We showed them how to paint a "pot puppet" by putting it over their hand, or by holding it down, getting a little dirty and painting it on the table. We used yellow tempera paint and the paint job was quick ~ 2 coats was plenty with the foam brushes.

 Once dry, we prepped the pots and materials for the next phase.
 We found small jingle bells, brown scrapbook cardstock by the sheet and blue glittery pipe cleaners at Michaels. We were excited. Poke 2 holes in the bottom of the painted pot before you begin.
 Cut one square 3 1/2 x 4 inches wide. This will be the rolling piece. Cut another piece 1 x 3 inches. This will be the Liberty sign.
Have them roll their larger brown paper around their pencil. 
They were very proud to figure this trick out!
String the bell onto the pipe cleaner, then thread it up through the open end of the pot, now bell~One end per hole. Hold the bell against the side of the inside pot while twisting the pipe cleaner at the top to hold it in place.
Place the rolled brown paper in between the pipe cleaner tails and twist again. A few needed adult help, but most of them were able to figure this out by watching a few times.
Add the crack with a Sharpie, and of course a brad for one of the bolts that tried to fix the crack in the bell. They loved this part! We poked the brad through for them and they opened the arms of the brad inside the pot themselves. 

Use the same Sharpie to print the word "Liberty" on the smaller brown paper and attach it to the front of the roll. We used glue dots to attach ours.
We decided to string our Liberty Bells onto blue yarn and hang them like a garland above our American Symbols bulletin board. Bald Eagles are from Deanna Jump {here}. We used duct tape on the ends to keep them in place. The tape is hiding up on the window sills, but has been there for over a week and no bells have cracked yet. :)

Originally Posted September 11, 2012
America the Beautiful Freebie

In honor of our beautiful country and its symbols, we came up with a few *FREE* activities that we'd love to share with you today!
We know there are so many symbols to choose from, but these are the ones we're focusing on this year. We'll use these word cards in the pocket chart and up on the board. We like to print and laminate several sets and use them in centers too. We cut the picture part away from the word to make an instant matching game!

We'll have our friends work through this little book over the course of the next two weeks. As we learn about each symbol, we will fill in the letters and words to complete our book. We will have them color where they can, then try their hand at a little free drawing in the box above.  The rhyming was sorta an accident, but then it became a challenge! So, in the end it all rhymes...It's a total teacher curse!!! Please tell us you have it too?

We love word building! It is so good for them and such a great way to get them using those letters and sounds! We use it whenever we can in class.
So, this week they will see how many words they can make with the letters in the word 

We'll print, laminate and chop these letter cards up for them to use in the pocket chart. Then, we'll make a few extra sets and offer it as a small group activity with the worksheet below. 
Don't forget to head on over to our TpT Store to grab your own copy of our America, the Beautiful  
Now what's more American than that?

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Throwback Thursday ~ Math Fact Fluency

We started our summer day **letting** our own kids choose a timed math program from our TpT Shop...  They have got to memorize their math facts this summer, and it seemed the easiest and most fun way to get it done! 
And, they had a blast.. 
They also agreed to practice every day from now until school starts...
On only one condition...
They would do it ONLY if we put them all on sale for you. 
Stinkers! But, we're happy to oblige...
So, now through June 30th you can grab any of our timed math programs for HALF OFF. Kids Win!
In case you're looking for a few more ideas and freebies for building math fact fluency, here are a few Throwback Thursday posts for you...Enjoy!

Originally Posted January 27, 2013 ~ Fact Power!
     Look! Up in the Sky! ~             
It's a Bird . . .           
It's a Plane . . .
It's FACTMAN !!!
Friday happened to be "Superhero Spirit Day" at school. It was also the day our math lesson was titled, "Fact Power"...Sometimes we just cannot plan things better ourselves! 

We have given ample warning about needing to memorize our addition facts in first grade. Yes, it is developmental. And, no not every child is ready for the abstract world of numbers and symbols. But, exposure is important, and we've found with a little shove nudge to practice, practice, practice most kids are able to demonstrate their FACT POWER in no time!  We share this with parents at Back to School Night at the beginning of the school year, and even purchase them their own set of no excuses flashcards for home. You can read about it and grab free flashcard box labels for yourself {here}.

A few weeks ago, our So Cal Bloggy Buddy Kate over at Second Grade Sparkle shared a fabulous review game that she's used for years with her class. This little game can be used for anything! She explains it in great detail {here}
This week, we tried it with our class and they loved it!  Students were given flashcards with equations on them. They could walk fly around the room and tell a friend, "I am 2+5. I equal 7. Who are you?"  They continued flying from friend to friend, repeating their equation and answer at each stop. 

After a few rounds, we switched cards with a friend and got a new equation.  In true Super Villain Teacher fashion, we then switched it up and had them greet their fellow Factman or Factwoman with, "I am 2+5. Who am I? Their friend would have to Save the Day and supply them with the answer. We even threw our own capes on and had a card of our own for friends to come introduce themselves to us. We tried to destroy their superpowers by "accidentally" saying the wrong answer just to keep them on their tights toes. We were taken down...They HAVE the Power (He-man anyone?). 

Once they felt totally invincible, we introduced them to our Big Fish Math program. 
You know the Villain never really goes down the first time...
We give timed addition tests to our class twice a week. This is about all we can handle for grading purposes...We're weak in that superpower...
We've created a class set of folders for use year after year. 
Though everyone starts off at +0, they work at their own pace through the facts from there. This is where the folders maintain their privacy. Nobody needs to reveal their own Fact Power. 
We set the folders up on our desks and give one minute to complete their quiz for the day. If they pass, they earn a "Bubble" on their "Big Fish Math Board". 
If they do not pass, they continue to practice and retake the test until they do. We send home another set of flashcards for extra home practice, and provide opportunities for learning in class by providing them with manipulatives, number grids or whatever other superpower they need to be successful. 
If they really struggle, we modify the tests for them by cutting or folding them in half. 
There's lots of different ways to stay organized, but this little box has worked great for us. We created tabs for each set of tests. There are both A and B versions for kids who sit next to each other and may have X-Ray vision during their facts quiz.

The orange dots are placed on every 5th tab. This indicates that they earn a little incentive!

 It absolutely doesn't have to be food, but we find something thematic keeps them motivated to learn their facts! We let them eat during class. They really feel like they HAVE the power! 

We're using Big Fish Math in our class this year because it goes with our ocean theme, but we've also created thematic Timed Math Programs for Baseball, Circus, Pirate and Bubble Gum Themes. 
Once your kiddos have mastered addition, we have subtraction and multiplication programs too!
*Click on the picture below to check them out* 

Originally Posted September 13, 2012 ~ Got Flashcards?
Two Dollar Trees, a bit of after work traffic, two starving kids in the back seat with loads of homework waiting until later,
And we've got them!
{insert hint of sarcasm...just in case you didn't catch it in our voice}

Thursday is Back to School Night for us - Better known to some of you as, "Meet the Teacher", "Parent Night" or "Summer's Done, Get Over It Night!". It is our chance to talk to BIG people. 
In little chairs.

 At Back to School Night, our parents receive a gift. 
From the heart. 
Aren't they all?
We grab a set of flashcards for each student at the Dollar Tree. 
Did we mention we had to go to two different stores tonight?
Oh, okay...
Just checking.
And, no we are not going to discuss the fact that we waited until the last minute and this is completely our own fault.
We will!
We usually hand these out at our parent conferences in October, but we decided to give them out early so families can start practicing. 

Having this idea is not the problem.

Having this idea last night at 9:30pm when we had to be at school at 7:30am is a bit of a problem.

Finding only 4 at one store (not getting them), traveling to another store several miles away to find only 16 (getting them), then returning to the first store to get the original 4 (got them!!)...Yep, problem!

We know what you're thinking...
The REAL problem is we only needed to buy 20!!
Please don't hate us...
We've gotten your emails. 
We feel your pain.
We actually have 21 students.
And, some of them are REALLY tall.
And, our classroom is small...or, we mean...cramped...we mean...little...
~Oh Geez~
Who are we kidding?
We know. We're lucky. 
You "30 Plussers" can hate.
In a nice way...please

We created labels for the flashcard boxes with a catchy phrase so they get the hint they understand why they are receiving this special gift. All gifts should come with a card right? It's proper etiquette! 
We print the labels on sheets that have 6 labels to a page. 
We used Avery #5164, but we admit...sometimes we just print them on plain old paper, chop them on our paper cutter, and good old fashion glue them on. We're so old school!

We stick the labels to the front of the box and add a binder ring to the hole in the package.
We encourage parents to punch holes in the top left corner of each flashcard and stick them on the ring.

They've got flashcards to go!
And presents! 
And, we're happy! 
Because they promise they are going to practice!

And, them?
Their faces are in shock.
We think this might be the best present they've EVER received!
They're speechless!
We're so happy!!!
{insert hint of sarcasm...just in case you didn't catch it in our voice}

Want to give your families a hint present too?
We changed our own label to say "student" instead of first grader to share with you!

Click any of the pics below to grab it *free* 
We created labels for addition, subtraction, 
multiplication and division.
Print the one that works best for you!

 Originally Posted February 1, 2013 ~ Number Cards Freebie
We know, simple little things.
But, so many possibilities...
Here's how we used them this week in class. 

Click the image below to head back over to Second Grade Shenanigans for more Throwback Thursday posts!

Plus, don't forget our 50% off sale through Monday on all our Timed Math Programs!
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