Sunday, January 27, 2013

Free and Fun Fonts for You!

Happy (lazy) Sunday, everyone!  Peeking out my window, it looks like my baby, my husband, and I are living in a snow globe.  :)  What a perfect kind of day for writing a quick blog post.
Many of you out there in the blogging / Pinterest world have talked about how awesome iFontMaker is, so I did some research myself.  I found out that I could not download this app on my Google Nexus, BUT...I was able to convince my sweet hubby into letting me download it on his iPad (hehe).  Click HERE if you would like to look into this cool app yourself.  The cost is $7.00, which is totally worth it - in my opinion!
Anyway, I am still a novice, but I do have a few FREE fonts to share with you that I have created.
(The adorable pink and swirly frame that you see is from the one and only 3 AM Teacher.  If you are unfamiliar with her amazing frames, clip art, and other goodies, I suggest you check her out!)

Okay, so this is my first time trying to share fonts.  I have "published" them on iFontMaker's website, so they should be downloadable (Is that a word?) to the public.  If you have any troubles, PLEASE let me know, so that I can attempt to fix the issue - but hopefully, all goes well!
Click on the links below to download the fonts:
Well, I suppose I ought to go do something more productive (and probably far less fun than blogging) with my day.  I hope you are able to use these fonts in goodies that you create for your classrooms.  As always, thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Teacher Appreciation Days - Discounts for YOU!

When I told my husband last weekend that I wanted to go to Barnes and Noble because they were having a 50% off all holiday books sale, he knew I would be gone for a few hours and my wallet would come back a little lighter.  :)  For the first time since I became a mommy, I was able to go into one of my FAVORITE stores, sip on a Spiced Vanilla Latte, and casually peruse every book in sight.  Ahhhh!  It was wonderful.
Before I get into the treasures that I found, I need to tell you that Teacher Appreciation Days at Barnes and Noble have started - Saturday, January 12th through Sunday, January 20th!  With your educator's card, you will receive 25% off EVERYTHING in the store (not just classroom-related items).  If you do not already have an educator's card, simply bring proof of employment to sign up.  On regular days, you receive 20% classroom-related items only.

Okay, now on to the goodies!  Here are some children's books that I am excited about:

"If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King," "I Have a Dream," and "The Skin I'm In"

The "I Have a Dream" book included a CD of Dr. Martin Luther King's original speech.  One of my 4th grade groups is currently listening to and talking about this infamous speech... and they are so loving it!
"Looking After Louis" by Lesley Ely is about a boy with autism and how his peers respond to him.  The story sends such a powerful and important message about compassion and understanding.
"Incredible You! 10 Ways to Let Your Greatness Shine Through" by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer... I am looking forward to reading this one at one of our upcoming Goody Goody Club meetings at school.  :)
"Leave Me Alone:  A Tale of What Happens When You Stand Up to a Bully" by Kes Gray and Lee Wildish is a straight-forward and simple story that shows children the importance of using their voice when they are not treated fairly.

You can go ahead and ignore the price tag that says "$19.99" because I got this "Alphabet Exercise" DVD for FREE!!  (Okay, maybe I had to buy two other DVDs to make that happen, but I am not the type of girl to pass up a Buy 2, Get 1 Free deal!)
I have to admit that I was disappointed at the selection of holiday books that were left when I arrived.  Oh well, at least I got these for 50% off!
If you ladies love Harry Connick, Jr. like I do, you will enjoy "The Happy Elf," especially the CD that comes along with the book.
My 2nd graders are in the middle of their "Winter" thematic unit, so I thought these bargain books might come handy at some point:  "The First Snow" for $5.98 and "Cub's First Winter" for the same price.

I have been trying to pick up gifts as I see them on sale throughout the year (instead of Christmas shopping at the last minute).  I found these... all for 50% off.  Don't you just LOVE that!?
Despite the fact that I was at Barnes and Noble last weekend, I already have plans to return tomorrow!  I know, I know...I have a book and coffee disease addiction.  Here are some books I have my eye on (among many others):

"Splat Says Thank You!" by Rob Scotton

"Being Frank" by Donna Earnhardt is about a boy who is a little too honest and learns a good lesson.

"Snowmen at Work" by Caralyn Buehner

I absolutely LOVE this book and the powerful message that it sends!!  The story is about an apple who meets a new friend, a worm.  The apple is teased by other apples for "having worms."  The apple is hurt and a little confused, but he continues to love his friend.  Eventually, the worm leaves without saying goodbye because he cannot stand to see his friend teased so badly.  You will have to get your hands on the book to read the ending!!  :)

"Watch Your Tongue, Cecily Beasley" by Lane Fredrickson is about a girl with poor manners who sticks out her tongue all the time... until one day some strange items get STUCK to her tongue!  She learns an important life lesson through the process.
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On a completely different note, today is a big day for me - I put up my very first product on Teachers Pay Teachers for sale... and I have to admit, I am a bit nervous about it.  I have always posted everything for free (which, by the way, I will continue to post FREEBIES) because it has never cost me money to make them AND the word "infringement" scares me, LOL.  But this time, I purchased some clip art and I thought I might try to make that money back.  Anyway, I think I followed all guidelines and I do not believe I have broken any rules, so hopefully this is a good start!
Soooo... if you are looking for some fun Community Workers Matching Cards to compliment our "Community Workers" unit, I would absolutely LOVE if you visited my TPT store by clicking HERE!
As always, thank you for stopping by!  :)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My 100th Blog Post...and FREEBIES!

A little birdie at school informed me that my blog and dedicated blog followers have been neglected.  I know, I know!  I am so sorry!  Trust me, I have missed blogging.  I had every intention on writing and sharing a whole bunch during my winter break, but my dear son demanded much of my attention.  Anyway, it feels good to be back!  (Thank you to the sweet follower who made me realize that there are people out there who actually read my blog.  You know who you are.)  One of my (many) New Years resolutions is to blog LEAST once a month (hey - it is better than once a season).  :)  By the way, my blogging resolution was #1 on my list.  Is that wrong?  Hehe.
I cannot believe this is my 100th blog post!  100!?  Wow...  Okay - on to the fun stuff!
Well - it is that time of year again.  As you are taking down your Christmas tree and packing away your holiday decorations, think twice before you throw away all of your greeting cards.  This is an idea that I got from The Mailbox a couple of years ago:
1 - Cut off the front flap of your greeting cards.
2 - Save them for next year (and remember where you placed them - I know, that is the hard part).
3 - When the holiday season rolls around again, have each student choose a picture and write about it.  There are SO many ways you can use these greeting cards as writing prompts.  For example, your students could do a free write OR you could require them to write 5 sentences that include a prepositional phrase OR you could tell them to include at least 10 adjectives in their writing... the ideas are endless!
Here are my greeting cards from this year:

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I wanted to write about something I have been doing once a month with my ELL 1st grade students - and it is also a great activity for Kindergarten... probably even 2nd grade, depending on their needs.  I am talking about...

I know - this is totally NOT a new idea.  However, I really like the way Shari Sloane incorporates student art into her calendars and so I have taken her approach and also added a writing piece.
(Before I continue, I have to ask a question:  Are you familiar with Shari Sloane?  If you are not, do yourself a favor and visit her website!  Kids Count: Shari Sloane  She is a-ma-zing!!  AND...her music CDs are so awesome.  I own "Singing with Shari: Get Ready!"  It is worth every penny.  If you want to read more about the calendars I am about to write about, click on her link - left hand side - that says "Monthly Calendars.")
So there are 3 parts to our calendars:
1 - The Artwork:  In the daily rush of things and with the pressure teachers regularly face to meet standards, it is so easy to overlook the importance of allowing children to demonstrate their artistic abilities.  And, in the case of many young students, it is important for them to practice simple cutting and pasting / fine motor skills.  What I like about Shari Sloane's artwork ideas is that they are EASY and can be done in a short amount of time.
The artwork changes from month to month.  Here is what my kiddos did in September:

This artwork was from October.  They colored a tree, then used their finger to paint the leaves:

My students are currently working on their calendars for the month of January.  The artwork is a snowman.  Here is what Shari Sloane's idea looks like:
I am going to give my kiddos some fun scrapbooking paper to use for the scarf, mittens, and hat.  For the snow, they will use white chalk OR white crayon OR glue and glitter (I know, I am crazy)... I have not yet decided.
Shari Sloane includes a traditional poem about a snowman on her calendar.  I think it is super cute, so I typed it up for you!  If you would like a FREE copy, stop by my Teachers Pay Teachers store by clicking HERE!

I printed off Shari Sloane's ideas and I write myself little notes about what I will do differently, so I remember for next year.

2 - The Writing and Illustration:  My students always respond orally, then in writing to the following prompt:  "What can we do this month?"  So, for example, my students and I were just talking today about what types of activities we can do during the month of January.  Some of their ideas were... build a snowman, have a snowball fight (and, of course, I stressed that that can only be done at home!), build a snow fort, drink hot cocoa, go ice skating, go sledding, and make snow angels.
If you would like to grab your own FREE copy of the simple writing template I use in my classroom, stop by my TPT store by clicking HERE!


This was my example for September.  We talked about how the weather is nice, so we can take walks... so here is me walking my baby in his stroller.  I know, I am such an artist!!  Haha!  By the way, this was before I added the writing piece.
"In October, we can watch scary movies."
3 - The Calendar:  I feel strongly that students should understand how to read and use a calendar.  And I believe primary teachers should take the time to teach it, especially those who have ELL students in their classrooms.  (Yeah, yeah - I know calendar is not even in the CCS - Common Core Standards - for Kindergarten and I had a daily calendar block in my Kindergarten room, but sometimes I think we teachers just need to use our own CS - Common Sense.)  If nothing else, the kiddos are practicing number writing and I do not think anyone is going to argue that THAT is not important!
Click HERE to snag a FREE copy of the very basic and blank calendar template that I use in my classroom.
TIP:  If you use a yellow highlighter to put a large slash through the center of your paper or a little "M" (for "Master") in the corner, you will always know which is your master copy.  And the yellow highlighter does not show up when you make photocopies.  Too often I would accidentally give my master copy away to a student.  But then an awesome Kinder teacher at my school gave me this idea and it has not happened since!  Yippee!
We also highlight special days on our calendars, such as birthdays, holidays, and important events that are going on at our school.
The students glue their calendars and their writing on a long sheet of construction paper, which gets folded in half (the artwork goes on the front flap).

Wow!  It is - however you want to look at it.  I hope you are able to use these FREEBIES in your classroom.  As always, thank you for stopping by!  :)