Tuesday, August 11, 2015

YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND & other books

It's back to school time and although this is my post from last year I thought I would re-post. That first week back to school is SO IMPORTANT! We want to make a good impression and part of setting the stage is using picture books to convey important messages. So if you're a new teacher get ready to shop!

My name is Jennifer and I have a picture book addiction. 

Seriously, put me in Barnes and Noble and it's like I'm in Target. I have no self-control! I know I'm not alone!

I have 5 books that I read every year and I can't imagine beginning my year without them.



1. Do Unto Otters- Absolutely the cutest book about the golden rule of do unto others. Great for manners and treating others with kindness. Every year I draw the main character and we record all the words we can think of on how to "do unto otters." There's also a VERY adorable DVD that you can find on Amazon (it includes 3 other stories By Laurie Keller). It's an animated version of the story and it's always a big hit. The kids are usually giggling at the little rabbit's do-dee-do song.


2. Wemberly Worried- So many students can relate to being nervous on the first day of school. 

3. You Will Be My Friend- HILARIOUS! Peter Brown is too funny. Lucy, the cute bear on the cover, has the hardest time making a friend. She even yells "YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!" which of course does not help her in making any new friends. The kids laugh at her ridiculous behavior and it leads to great discussion about how to make a friend.

4. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse- Another fabulous Kevin Henkes book. When Lilly draws a nasty picture of her teacher at the end of a bad day her teacher tells her "Today was difficult, tomorrow will be better." I say that same phrase to students all year long. Students easily relate to Lilly's excitement to show and tell about her purple plastic purse, movie star sunglasses, and jingly quarters. 

5. Library Lion- the illustrations in this book are so gorgeous. If you aren't familiar with this book it's so sweet. The librarian is very adamant that everyone follow the rules- most importantly STAY QUIET. But what if there's an emergency? Is there ever a time when it's okay to break the rules?






Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Get your Grants Funded!

How big is your wish list? After hours this summer spent at conferences, scouring Pinterest, and seeing new toys on Instagram and Facebook you probably have more than a few items you'd love to use in class. Now you're thinking about writing grant. GREAT IDEA! I've written grants before and all of them have been funded so I thought I would share my tips. 



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Donors Choose is of course a wonderful option for educators hoping to get grants funded, but did you know that many districts have an education foundation? I Education Foundations WANT to give you money for your classroom! Local large businesses and companies based out of your state may also offer grants. Don't forget about your school's PTA- they may have some funds they would be willing to share to help you purchase something if it could benefit a large population of the school.

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Can the item or items you want a grant to purchase be used all year long? Can they be used the following year as well? Will it benefit all the students in your classroom? You are more likely to have a grant funded if you can use it in your classroom continually.

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Don't be afraid to write a large grant! If you want to purchase items for your whole team try contacting the company you want to purchase from and ask if they offer a large order discount. Many times they will help you out! Companies want their product out there!

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Many people who want to fund your grants aren't teachers. They aren't familiar with the buzzwords that we are. When you write your grants be specific and make sure your reader can really picture how your item would be used in the classroom. Can it benefit students of all ability levels? How?

*Have a friend or colleague proofread your grant before you submit it!! Sometimes we have read and re-read and re-read what we have written so many times that we miss errors!

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Show how excited you are to receive your grant! Send out a picture of your items to your parents in a Remind message. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and now Periscope to show your enthusiasm and show your grant item at work in the classroom! Send out a thank you note. If you've been funded from someone locally a thank you note is a special touch.


Have a great school year and keep sharing pictures of your new fun items in class! I love seeing how creative we can be in how we teach!


Monday, July 6, 2015

Clip Art Love

Happy summer to all! 
The baby is asleep so I thought I'd quick make a post about some of my new favorite clip art. I have a long list of things I want to make for the classroom but it's hard to find the time with a little one. But somehow I can manage to peek at clip art on TPT on my phone and iPad throughout the day. 

Have y'all been to Zip-a-dee-doo-dah's store lately?! Oh my gosh-I could add to my cart all day long.


She has posted super super cute fairy tale clip art for 10 different fairy tales. With this bundle you are pre-ordering the final four sets. I love the Red Riding Hood clip art! She has clip art for several different fairy tales and at first you'll like one, then another, and then another and by that time you may as well buy the whole bundle!


Seriously people, the Jack and the Beanstalk clip art is too cute. 

But wait....I also fell in love with her nursery rhyme sets!



Clip art for 10 sets will be available. Right now you pre-order (the first five sets are already available) and new sets are added for you to obsess over!

I'm off to do a little more clip art shopping before Little One wakes up. Have a great day!!




Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Currently July!


Big thanks to Farley for hosting this monthly linky! I look forward to it every month even though lately I haven't been able to get all my ducks in a row to participate. It's been a REALLY crazy busy June. School ended and I said goodbye to the team I can never replace, the staff that feels like family, and a wonderful community. I loved where I worked and all the people I worked with. Hoping to find that magic again in my next school position!


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Some of you may remember that my husband was offered a job in Seattle just before Christmas. We planned a trip up to Seattle in January and at the end of our trip my husband stayed in Seattle to start his new job and I returned to Austin with our baby. Amber and I just moved to Seattle last week and I'm LOVING having my family back together again! Amber is learning so much and doing so much and I hated that my husband was missing out.

Y'all- I wish I was going to Vegas! I went last year and had such a good time. I made so many new friends and I wanted to go so badly this year. Too much was going on though and who would watch my sweet Amber?! (Bring a baby to Vegas???)

I need more time in the day. Or for Amber's naps to be longer. (Maybe not OR...maybe AND her naps to be longer) I desperately want to work on items for school and TPT and the TPT Sellers Challenge but I can't seem to get enough time to finish things!!! Y'all know how it is!

I NEED FEWER MOMMY BRAIN MOMENTS! 
You know how you have a great idea or remember something really important and then you grab a pen and POOF it's gone. I need that to stop. I realize I have lots going on but for real....all I can say is thank goodness for Evernote!

Just like Farley my I'm an All Star truth teller. Don't come to me if you want something sugar coated. I expect the same from my friends. Tell it to me straight.

I'm looking forward to reading everyone's Currently's tomorrow morning! To those of you going to Vegas please post lots of pics so I can live vicariously through you!!



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