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Back to School GIVEAWAY!

My Firstie Friends and I are hosting a GIVEAWAY. You could win $25 just in time to load up your Teachers Pay Teachers cart and shop for Back to School!


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Wordless Wednesday: Changes


A week ago today, I moved from Houston to San Antonio.  Everything is still a bit of a mess (especially me).

As I anxiously await access to my new classroom, I wonder what advice do you have for someone who is new to a campus or team?

Be sure to visit Miss Decarbo at Sugar and Spice for more Wordless Wednesday posts.

Coffee Shop Vibe Without the Price


My quick and easy Bright Idea this month, is all about having that coffee shop vibe without the cost this summer!

I love to hang out in coffee shops pretending to be productive on my laptop. Once I actually took a stack of papers to grade with me to my favorite local coffee shop.

There's just one problem.  Going to Starbucks to work costs money that could be better spent (hello technology wish list or Kendra Scott necklace I want but don't need).  But when I'm home, I struggle with staying focused if the TV is on or if music is playing.  I love background noise, but not something I'll end up singing along with or waste time flipping between tabs to click NEXT. 

(Catches breath)

Here comes my Bright Idea. I use an app called Coffitivity for background noise.  What background noise you ask...I'll let them explain!



There's just something about that Morning Murmur that helps me stay on task (until the Periscope alert whistles) and I feel better about my work-at-home uniform of yoga pants and hoodies. You don't have to be at home to take advantage of this tool. There is also a mobile app for ios and Android! 

When I put this app on, I am able to stay focused for longer periods of time than I am if I have music playing.   

If you try it out, let me know in the comments below or tag me on Instagram!

Do you have other tricks to help you stay focused while working? 

Be sure to stop by more Bright Idea posts using the links below!




Wordless Wednesday: Grab a Chair

via Kaboompics






If you could sit down and have coffee with one person today, who would it be? A mentor, a friend, someone you've never met?  This image reminds me of Saturday mornings at the Pearl having coffee and chatting with friends.  Sometimes at a table on a city street, you can still feel like you're in your own world. 

:) Happy Wednesday

Periscope- It's All About the Hearts



Periscope can be summed up in 1 word- FUN.

Periscope is a live and recorded streaming service through Twitter.  It is a fun and easy way to connect with your followers. I've enjoyed watching several teachers out there scope over the past few days, and I even gave it a shot myself!!! Watching the playback I realized 1. I have shaky hands and 2. Pay attention to the comments!

If you are looking for someone new to follow, check me out @notJANEtweets! If you Periscope as well, be sure to leave your name in the comments so I can follow you too!


Building Mathematical Comprehension: Visualizing

Chapter 5 of Laney Sammon's Building Mathematical Comprehension, is all about the importance of visualizing mathematical ideas.


I often have students who jump to the conclusion that they "Just don't get it."  After having a conversation I often come to the conclusion they are missing the visualization piece.  If students don't have a strong manipulative background to build upon, it becomes even more difficult to stretch their thinking into creating models and diagrams to explain their thinking.

After reading this chapter, I went to my teacher search tool of choice, Pinterest, to look for some tools to encourage visualization. Here were three ideas that jumped out at me!

This app will help students visualize Base 10 concepts on the iPad. As I move to working with upper grade students as well as primary students, I will need multiple iPad resources to help with math.

Here Melissa from First Grade Smiles shares one of my favorite Making 10 anchor charts. I love beginning with unifix cubes, and revisiting the concept with this chart. It leads into so many good mini lessons and working with 10 strategies.

via First Grade Smiles blog

This post has fun Math Youtube channels for kids that I can't wait to add to my favorites.

via WhatWeDoAllDay.com


Do you have any go-to ideas about helping students visualize their mathematical thinking?

How do you help those who get frustrated and don't want to draw out their ideas?

Please let me know your tips, and check out other posts at A Teacher Mom for this book study!

Monday Made It: Back to School Welcome Banner

I'm excited to be back this week linking up with Fourth Grade Frolics for Monday Made It!


I think this week our theme should be TARGET DOLLAR SPOT, because I put my purchases to good use! I also love the ideas from Ramona Recommends who is hosting this week! I bought these clips in the Target Dollar Spot as well, and it looks like I'm headed to buy some sticky magnets! I love find new classroom decor and organization tips.  :)

If you somehow have enough self-control to avoid the Target Dollar Spot, please share your strategy in the comments below. #ineedanintervention

I purchased this adorable notebook paper dry erase banner.  Since no one needs to see my arthritic handwriting, I also grabbed a pack of burlap letter stickers to go with the banner.



Next, I tried to decide just what my banner should say.  I had originally thought about putting my name on the banner. I will be moving into a teeny tiny intervention room (closet) in the first grade pod, so I wanted a way for students to be able to recognize my door easily.


Scratch that idea! Even with the pink pack of letters it just wasn't working for me. A good planner would have noticed there was only 1 letter n in each package and bought multiple packs. Needless to say I never have a plan at Target beyond spending my entire paycheck.

Back to the drawing board.

Oh here is a bright idea! How about just saying WELCOME!!! So original...


The burlap letters did not come with any punctuation marks. I trimmed the letter I and the inner part of the capital D to make the exclamation point!  Luckily my unpacked makeup bag was nearby to use as a circle template.




It doesn't look terrible! 
Time to peel the backs off the letters and make this happen!


I have to admit, I was surprised at how nicely the letters stayed on the banner!


I can't wait to see this hanging from my new classroom door! Our pod is orange, so I know the blue will pop nicely, and it will work regardless of the season or grade level! 


Be sure to head to the link up and check out more great ideas! Let me know in the comments below what your favorite Dollar Spot finds are this summer!


All You Need's a Strong Heart and a Nerve of Steel

When I searched for the lyrics to Viva Las Vegas, the line in the title made me chuckle. Heading to the 2015 Teachers Pay Teachers conference in Las Vegas was going to take nerves of steel for sure. I just hoped to leave with a strong heart and a passion for creating!


I didn't know what to expect. I am a teacher and a content creator, but I've been nervous about the TPT side of things. I wanted to attend so that I could connect with the bloggers I felt like I knew so well ONLINE, but not in real life.  Being new, I realized it was best to just sit back and listen!

Luckily, I spent the week with two of my most trusted teacher friends. Suzanne from Krazytown and Meghan from Oh Boy Fourth Grade.  After living in separate cities for two years, we were like girls at summer camp staying up WAY TOO LATE in our PJs (or muu muu...).  I feel so fortunate to have met so many kind and wonderful teachers. The energy was contagious throughout the week! I am definitely not shy, but it does take effort and persistence to put yourself out there to meet strangers. By the flight home Saturday, here were some things I wrote down as I thought about the trip.




This was definitely a high-energy event, and the constant stream of information combined with networking is not for the faint of heart.  You have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and get to know other content creators. You also have to be willing to hear tough advice from friends.  I appreciated each person who took the time to ask my name and about my blog. I left the conference with a much clearer picture of what I want to do as a edublogger and teacherpreneur in the near future. I also left with a slight addiction to cronuts!!!

How can something so good be so bad for you? :(
I spent time on the flight home using iMovie to make a short vlog of all our fun. ***Warning***This video contains inappropriate use of vertical vs. horizontal filming! #sorry


Be sure to hop over to The Elementary Entourage Vegas Link Up to check out more posts about the amazing Teachers Pay Teachers Conference!








Monday Made It: Pushing Buttons


Happy Monday! I'm excited to share my Monday Made It with you as we kick off What Happens in Vegas Goes on the Blog Week!!!

I hope to share some of my adventures this week as I travel to sin city for the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference. And let me just say, it is going to be HOT.  

To prepare (last minute) for my trip, I realized I needed some "flair" to share!  Let's make that a hashtag shall we? #SHAREyoFLAIR


Best. Movie. Ever.

I have no desire to tote an entire suitcase of swag, but I don't mind bringing a lil bag of buttons!

I created this set to share with my internet buddies.  I feel like a kid again wanting to swap Pokemon cards!!!!

Actually he's lying. I am too old for Pokemon cards and I wouldn't know what to do with them if I weren't pushin 76.  

Back to my buttons. 

I spent late Friday night creating buttons for my blog and for fun on Zazzle. I was really impressed with out how quick and easy it was to upload my custom design and order! As of midnight they are in Dallas and will be here by 3pm! Just in time for my Tuesday trip!

Warning- This is the world's worst screenshot! ;) I'm waiting on the real thing!!!



So if you need to MAKE something quick and easy, I highly recommend Zazzle and their buttons. :) 




Plan With Me Sundays: Adding Images to Scheduled Posts


Hi Everyone! I am excited to join in this week's Plan With Me Sunday!

Today's link-up is special because not only is it full of organizational tips, but there is a giveaway! Cha Ching!

This week I will walk you through my draft process.  My previous video showed you all about the tools I LOVE to plan with, but this week I want to talk about how I'm trying to be more organized through a draft-post process and scheduling. There's a secret word in the video! If you see it be sure to leave it in the comments below. :)

Grab a cup of coffee and check it out.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out other posts and take a chance at winning the giveaway!
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Five for Friday: Hello July




Here are five things I'm loving this Friday!
While shopping for Vegas, I found this jumpsuit was on sale at TJ Maxx! Let's pretend I look like this model and not like an orca when you see me! Deal? Deal. 



My "business" cards from Moo arrived at my door this morning! Their express shipping is no joke. I can't believe how quickly they arrived. They are lovely little cards with very sturdy cardstock. I feel like you should keep one handy as you never know when you are going to need to pull one out and use it as a weapon #seriouslythickpaper.  You can check them out HERE and get 10% off your order with my link!


I'm excited to see that many more Edu bloggers are beginning to use Twitter! This past week during our #tptchat a few more hashtags were created to help teachers learn about products and ideas! Be sure to follow me at my @NotJANEtweets account now that I've moved away from using my personal Twitter account for all things education. Let's be real- education leaders don't want to read my personal tweets about Game of Thrones or Real Housewives...



Speaking of Twitter, last night the awesome Greg from Kindergarten Sm and Kayla from Top Dog Teaching hosted a live chat about Twitter. You can go check it out on Youtube for great ideas and tips for using Twitter! I watched the first half while waiting for our table at a restaurant. Needless to say the hostess seated us sooner so I have to go back and watch again! You can watch it here!



I love finding new clip art. This week I want to shout out a special thanks to Lindy du Plessis for the adorable number clip art!  You can find them in her store for FREE on TPT.






Happy Friday! What special plans do you have for this weekend? 




Wishlist Wednesday: Binder Labels

I know that my new classroom is painted ORANGE (power) so I need to make sure my decor gives some relief for the eyes! I love using my Rise and Shine binders, and I hope to find a way to reuse them for small groups now that I'll be teaching RtI. While looking for some editable binder covers, I found this Cute Kid set from Jessica at Tales of a First Grade Teacher. The turquoise is a perfect balance for all that orange! This is definitely going on my Wish List!






Go check out other great Wish List posts at Teacher by the Beach!