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! 

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!

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?

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