Friday, January 31, 2014

Developing as a TPT Seller

Although I am still fairly new to TPT, I have been trying to think of ways to improve and grow as a seller. I've been posting and selling individual pages and mini bundles of worksheets and graphic organizers, but I'm currently working on a  couple of bigger projects that I am really excited about.

The first project is a themed classroom set. I won't give too much away right now, but I'm excited about this one because it's something I plan to use in my classroom next year!

Stay tuned and please check out my store (which has slowly been gaining inventory) here

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

MLK/Black History Month Ideas

I'm a little late in this post, but wanted to share some of the activities my kiddos completed in class this month. I taught a unit on Martin Luther King Jr. that the students really enjoyed learning about. We read several books and completed a couple of different activities with what what they had learned.

We used KWL charts to kick off our MLK study. The kids recorded what they knew about him and asked questions about what they wanted to know, recording them on the chart. Upon completion of the unit, we will complete the last column - what they have "learned."

We also completed a MLK craft called "My Dream." My students shared what their dreams were - getting a job, becoming a police officer, helping animals, etc. One even said his dream was to see MLK alive. (Awww!)

My students also completed a tree map for MLK. It was the first time that we had used this particular Thinking Map and my students completed it remarkably well. They got the idea of completing each "branch" and were eager to volunteer responses. One of my third graders even volunteered the word "justice" - and knew what it meant! These guys continue to surprise me.

 My students also had the opportunity to complete two different writing prompts. One writing prompt asked students to write a letter to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., thanking him for his efforts in making the world a better place. The second writing prompt had students write about what they could do to better the world.

All of these MLK worksheets can be found at my TPT store - click here! It's a great addition to any MLK unit or Black History Month unit (which is coming up in about a week!) Have fun with them!

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

DIY Kissing Booth for Photo Sessions

I happened to stumble across Double the Giggles blog the other day, as I was on Pinterest looking for ideas for DIY photo shoot props. She had an amazing DIY tutorial on a kissing booth for Valentine's Day inspired photography sessions. 

Using her tutorial, I managed to put together my own kissing booth prop.

First, I had to locate a wood crate. A fellow photographer and friend of mine told me to check out Michaels. Unfortunately, they did not have any in. I didn't think that JoAnn's would carry it, so I decided to check out Home Depot in the hopes that they might have it. 

And they did! They were having a sale on storage containers and, low and behold, they had wood crates on sale for $7.97 - so I bought two! I also bought some poplar hobby boards - two skinny boards (0.25x2.5x2) and one slightly larger board (the size of which I painted over). Before leaving, I also picked up some carpenter's glue (for wood projects).

I also had picked up some items at Michaels - acrylic paint, tacky glue, heart garland, and different colors of felt (pink, cream, red, white, and gray) that I planned on utilizing for my project. 

To begin, I painted all the wood pieces using some simple BEHR primer/paint two-in-one that I picked up at Home Depot. I used sponge paintbrushes for application and only did two coats - I didn't want it to look perfect. I let that dry and then used the wood glue to glue the smaller, skinny boards to the larger board.

While the boards were drying, I cut a heart pattern out (using a cereal box) and then used that pattern to trace and cut hearts out from the felt pieces. I used tacky glue to glue the hearts together. After they dried, I used tacky glue to glue them onto the front of the box (applying the glue generously so that it would stick!)

After the glue had dried on the boards I had glued together, I realized I wanted to make sure they didn't end up falling apart. (I didn't trust the wood glue!) So, I went back to Home Depot and picked up some nails. I ended up hammering four nails into the wood pieces to make sure the boards were sturdy enough to withstand little bodies sitting on the crate for photos.

After the frame was nailed, I wedged the thin sign supports into the open slats on the crate. Both sides fit pretty snugly and the sign could easily be taken out from the crate for storage purposes. 

Additionally, I created a sign to attach to the frame. I also had picked up some wood letters at Michaels (each one was under $1) and painted them in pink and red.

The final version of the kissing booth came out really well. I have already taken some photos of some cute kiddos using my new prop.

If you like my photos, please be sure to visit my Facebook page and "Like" me: Let me know what you think of my photos! 

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

KWL Charts for January!

Since I have had the last two weeks off (with one more week of vacation to go), I have had some time to work on some new TPT products. The return of school in January marks an important period for some teachers - half the school year is over and summer is just several months away! But before we start getting out our beach towels and sandals, we have several months - packed with holidays and parties - to get through.

I have mentioned before that in my SDC classroom I use a lot of graphic organizers with my second and third grade students. We use everything from KWL charts to circle maps to Venn diagrams to double bubble maps. We utilize formal programs such as Thinking Maps as well as informal organizing techniques. I feel that my students benefit and learn better when we use these tools in conjunction with our learning units. It helps my students with learning disabilities organize their thinking and brainstorm important ideas and thoughts. 

I am a big fan of KWL charts. It's a great tool for brainstorming and evaluating my students' schema prior to a unit. It's also a wonderful reflection tool at the end of the unit; it helps determine what students  have learned.

All the products I create and post on TPT are products that I have created and used in my classroom - products that I think other teachers might find useful. I hope that you do find use for them in your classroom!

These are just a couple of the new KWL charts I have posted on my TPT store:

I hope that you enjoy my products. I will be posting more products soon!

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Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Smile for the camera!

I have a deep set love of all things creative and crafty. I am an artist at heart and I love any and all activities that allow me some degree of self-expression. 

Photography is one of my more favored outlets. I took several photography classes in high school and loved that I was able to develop my own film and turn them into photographs. I have used both manual film cameras and point-and-shoot cameras over the years, but have been yearning for something a bit more advanced and sophisticated. 

This led me to investing in a new DSLR camera for Christmas. With the help of my mother and grandmother, along with several hundred dollars I had saved up for this occasion, I was able to purchase a Nikon D3200 with a two-lens kit. I am so excited to have a new camera to experiment with!

My hope is that I can use my new camera to begin a part-time photography business. I would like to shoot lifestyle photos - newborns, children and families, senior portraits, and engagement sessions...and possibly weddings at some point. 

I'm still playing around and getting to know my new camera but I did happen to take some test shots of my sister and her fiance when they were in town. I've posted them on my photography page on Facebook. You can check out my page here, if you're interested!

I will post some pictures from a craft/project session that I'm doing this afternoon - I'm making some adorable props for my Valentine's Day mini sessions! Stay tuned!

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