8/01/2015

August Currently!

I am typing at warp speed because I've NEVER EVER been within the first 100 on Farley's Currently!  

If you're a new blogger or you've been on the Bloggie Block for a while, link up with Farley & The Currently!  FUN!  

It reminds me of when I was a teenager & I would read Teen Bop's interview with NKOTB or Debbie Gibson.  Remember those? FYI...this one was on my wall until I left for college.



I went to EdCamp today & I had a great time with my teammates!  I've missed them this summer!  They are so incredibly supportive & one of them had some great news to share (see thinking...).

Yes, I need to really look at my TpT Cart & decide what I need.  I mean I can't spend $100 during the sale.  I need to make some decisions. What do I need for BTS and what can wait.

I'm not sure about my RAK's.  Maybe something for my daughter's teacher and maybe something for the Principal's I work with. Maybe both.  Probably both.


This Little Piggy wonders, what is one thing you can't live without in your TpT Cart?

Upper Elementary Back-to-School Blog Hop



Hey there friends in bloggie world!  
Great News...this is a blog hop!  Better News...You Can Win TpT Gift Cards!!  Whoop!  

If this is your first visit to my blog, I'm Deniece from This Little Piggy Reads and I'm a GT Specialist in Texas.  For 3 years I taught 3rd Grade Reading and I began this blog to share ideas and strategies with Upper Elementary Teachers.  

My heart belongs in Upper Elementary!  Yes, there are standardized tests, but tests don't scare me. Bloggie World is full of Primary blogs, but this hop celebrates & showcases Upper Elementary teacher bloggers.  

Most Upper Elementary classrooms in my area are departmentalized.  So teachers see multiple classes throughout the day, not just 1 homeroom all day.  It can quickly become overwhelming - especially grading.  My solution was to color code EVERYTHING!  I taught 3 classes and my classes were assigned colors according to their turn-in baskets.  Mine were pink (red journals), green and blue.  

What did I color code?
  • Folders
  • Journals
  • Grading 
  • Portfolios
  • Student Names on Classwork & Homework
  • Binder Clips for Paperwork
  • Tabs in my Grade book 
Of course my folders & journals were color coded. The pink class was pink/red because 3rd grade boys don't like pink (who knew?).  When my students turned in their assignments, they highlighted their names in the appropriate color. I used sticky notes to organize my gradebook.  I hope my color coding tip helps you start the year out organized!

One more tip, if you haven't ever used Frixon Erasable Pens...they rock. GO GET THEM!


Onto the goodies...
My newest product is free student binder covers.  I love how they turned out!  They will be free for August.  Hopefully they will help your students stay organized throughout the year! 

We are celebrating Back-to-School by giving away TpT Giftcards!  Yes, TpT Giftcards! Yippie!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

To continue along the hop, jump on over to Katie Upman's blog, Sprouts Learning.  I love her doodle blog design.


This Little Piggy wants to know what is your favorite grade to teach?  Leave me a comment!

7/23/2015

Top 10 Dollar Tree **FINDS**


I'm changing my theme this year to Robots.  I think it fits my STEM focus.

I decided on a color theme of turquoise and red with some lime thrown in.  I'm including lime because I've had a blue and green classroom for 4 years, but I don't want it to look Christmas-y.

While I was @ Dollar Tree today, I kept thinking of different ways that teachers could use these items in their classroom. I snapped some pics and thought I'd share them with you.

If you have iPads, tablets or computers 
there are days that you'll need earbuds.  
#$1isafabulousprice

 Every teacher needs caddies!

Do your kiddos call sanitizer "hanitizer"?
In September you probably have too many bottles, but in March I PROMISE you'll open your cabinet and it will be EMPTY.  UGH. 

My daughter's school supply list asked for sandwich size baggies, quart size baggies and gallon sized baggies.  At the grocery store it would easily be $9!  $3 is much better.  
I always run out of gallon sized baggies, am I the only one?
#$1isafabulousprice 

This was a new find at my Dollar Tree!  A stylus for $1!  Wow! 
 And we have tablets with covers, but if you need one, 
#$1isafabulousprice 

Tissue is another thing that I never have enough of.  I was honestly shocked to find this at Dollar Tree.  The great news, they even have aloe in them so they aren't rough and scratchy!
#$1isafabulousprice 

I saw these stickers and they were about 3" & I thought someone out in bloggie world would love them!

I rarely use pencil pouches to store pencils, 
but I use them ALL the time!  
I normally keep paper clips, clothes pins or yarn in them.

If you hoard containers, raise your hand!  
Yes, I raised my hand.
The entire reason I went to Dollar Tree was
to buy red & turquoise containers. 
#$1isafabulousprice

Last, but not least is wall stickers.  I saw the Monsters & thought that any one using ClassDojo would like those!  A few years ago, I was in a classroom that had patchy paint.  It looked like the previous teacher used cheap wall hooks for her keys or something near the light switch.  I ended up putting birdie and flower wall stickers over the holes. 

This Little Piggy wants to know what is your favorite item from Dollar Tree.

6/27/2015

Dare to Dream: My Dreams

This week's TpT Seller Challenge was to blog about our dreams and/or goals for our TpT Store.   I was "gung-ho" Monday morning and began to write a post about my dreams.  As I began reflecting on my TpT Store, I realized that I needed more time.  More time to think about what TpT had already given us.  

Truthfully, I didn't realize what a huge blessing TpT has been for my family.  I debated - should I share what I've used my TpT earnings for?  I'm a blogger, AKA Oversharer.  

Well, my little store has had some flatline months and some pretty amazing months. I'm grateful for every follower who purchased an item from my store.  Even now, I am shocked that other teachers value the products that I make.    

TpT has had a huge impact on our family.  There are months when my TpT income has bought groceries for our family. Those months I am the most grateful for TpT.  I am serious.  

Some months I was able to cover my daughter's rising dance costs and others it helped pay for her daycare.




Last year my store started generating a little extra income and I was able to take our family on vacation to Port Aransas and my husband and I spent the New Year & his b-day at our favorite place in the world, Fredericksburg, TX (although the pics above are from a previous vacay)!

This year, I finally got a new dishwasher.  Now, you might think boring...but clean dishes are ahhhh-mazing!  I don't think our dishes have been clean in about 2 years.

In full disclosure, other than a house & cars we do not live in debt, so if we don't pay cash for it, then we don't do it or buy it.  TpT has helped us live like this.   




The rest of this post will focus on my goals for the next two years.  Fall 2015 - Summer 2017.




Next year we are celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary and we are going to Cancun to celebrate.  TpT has made this dream a reality for us.  Neither of us have ever been to a resort, nor been to Cancun so we're pretty psyched!   

Right now, we have carpet and tile in our house.  I HATE CARPET, especially 10 year old carpet that has survived 2 toddlers and 1 puppy!  I want new hardwood floors.  Well, okay not REAL hardwood.  I'd like wood laminate floors.  

My Girl is 6 and talks about going to Disney atleast once a week.  I am not an amusement park type girl and I've heard that the Disney Cruise is absolutely fantastic!  So, I am thinking that is a better option for us.  Not sure how realistic this goal is, but let's dream big!

As far as my store goes, I'd LOVE to be a top 100 seller in Texas.  Right now I think I'm still in the 400's.  Which is an improvement, but I really want to break the top 100!  

TPT has been a very unexpected blessing in our life.
Thank You to anyone who has ever made a purchase from my store. 

6/20/2015

Why I don't use Instagram

Teacher bloggers love Instagram.  I'm on Instagram, but I rarely post.  Because my life is pretty boring!

Two things happened in my house today that were IG worthy.  First, all of our laundry was washed, dried, folded or hung up & put away!!!  Snore!  But I'm happy.  The 2nd IG item was Dora, one of our tadpoles grew legs.  Now, that was pretty cool & I was going to post it, but I cannot for the life of me remember all of the hashtags I'm supposed to use.

I'm sure IG is pretty awesome & I love the artsy pics by Taecher Bloggers, but it's just not me.

6/19/2015

#makeovermadness

This summer I intended to re-do most of my first TPT Products and perhaps add to a few of them.  So, when I heard about the #tptsellerchallenge, I jumped on board!  

My #1 BEST SELLER is my Inventor/Inventions Brochure.  I haven't changed the cover in 2 years because...well, because it's been selling just fine.  But, I decided it was time to change it.  Over the last year, I've been thinking about adding a lap book component and this was the perfect time to add it.  Of course,  I ran out of ink, so I couldn't add pics to the file, but I will do that next week.

What do you think about the new cover??

In an effort to hold myself accountable for fulfilling the #tptsellerchallenge, I am posting my STATS.  Truthfully STATS are controversial.  Some people put a lot of stock into them.  I prefer to grow my followers organically and I want my followers to be people who need my help or want to hear what I have to say - not just people who agree to follow me for no apparent reason.   



4/10/2015

Spring is Here - Poetry Hop

Hoppy Spring!  A.K.A. Allergy season in my house.  I woke up this morning with puffy eyes, my husband said I looked like a frog! Yup, a frog.  
This weekend, we're celebrating poetry.  Teaching poetry didn't come natural to me.  So, I had to pack my teacher toolbox full of little tricks of the trade.  Take a peek inside my Pinterest Poetry Toolbox.
  
I love seeing kids write little poems about the things they love.  I also love seeing kids become authors. Today, I'm going to show you how to make a brown bag book.  I PROMISE if you make this with your students and hang it in the hallway you are guaranteed to get "Oooh's and Aaaah's" from your colleagues and parents.  
The materials you'll need are: 3 lunch sized paper bags per student, scissors & a rubberband (ribbon is optional).  

Begin by cutting the ends off of each paper bag. 

Next, line up all 3 bags, fold into a booklet, cut about an inch slit into each end and slide the rubberband into place.

Now, you're paperbag book is ready to decorate.  For this project, you'll need to download my Poetry Brown Bag Freebie!


Each page has space for notes or a description and students can write their own poems to put on the "tag pages".  These pages have a ribbon attached like a tag or a tab.

To add the tab, simply cut strips of ribbon, fold over and staple to the back side of your paper.


I've made a few brown bag books in my teaching career and they tend to be on the girly side.   I tried to make this a little more generic and it looks cute, but isn't girly! 



Continue along our hop and check out my friend, Tara's blog!

Have you ever made a Brown Bag Book?  I've used it for cause and effect.  How else could you use it?
A special thanks to our graphic artists: Epiphanous, EduClips and Hello Fonts.