Friday, June 26, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Dare to Dream

Week 2 of the TpT Seller Challenge has been truly inspiring!  It is fun to read other teachers' dreams and a blessing to see that there are SO MANY kind and generous people in the TpT community.

Today, I am sharing my dreams as I continue in my TpT journey, but I want to take some time to share how God with the help of TpT has already blessed me and my family.  So many teachers had a dream of becoming a work at home mom on TpT and I happy beyond blessed to have been doing just that for over 4 years.  My husband and I bought a larger dream home in a community that we LOVE living in...thanks to TpT.  And we are able to give generously to our church and community without fear of not having enough for groceries the next week.  It is humbling to see how God and TpT have created a way for me to fuel my passion and provide for my family...I am beyond blessed.

But, it is always important to keep on dreaming...

1. Finish Renovating... My husband and I may have bought our perfect house, but it is not in the most perfect state!  Haha!  I would love to pay off our new, beautiful kitchen and continue renovating little jobs, as well as, our master bathroom and sunroom!  

3. Save and Share... Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University has been AMAZING for our family budget.  I would love to continue to pay off debt (don't tell Dave we took out a loan for the kitchen...shhh!), build our savings, save for the kiddos' college and give generously to others! 

4. Travel... I grew up taking many vacations in a '91 Dodge Ram van and would love to give my children the same experiences.  I would love to take our travel trailer on many vacations, including camping, anywhere with a beach and Disney World.  I would also love to be able to go on weekend getaways with my husband...and maybe even a family trip to Hawaii one day!  Let me take a moment to close my eyes and dream about  that dream! 

If you are a TpT Seller share your TpT dreams and join the challenge with these fabulous bloggers...

Monday, June 22, 2015

The Art of Early Learning

Learning...what does it mean to you? The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes learning as "the activity or process of gaining knowledge or skills by studying, practicing, being taught, or experiencing something". {source} Sounds pretty much right on target...don't you think?  We go to, read, listen, explore, and observe the world around us causing us to learn and retain all sorts of important information.  And, learning must be assessed...there has to be a percentage, a pass/fail or ranking system to know that learning is taking place...right?!?!
As a teacher, I knew which students could grip a pencil correctly, which students could count to 20 and which could count to 100.  I know which readers would need to learn 5-8 more sounds before we began blending short vowel or CVC words and which readers would be learning long vowels the next week.  I knew my students and their learning goals WITHOUT a standardized test, percentage, pass/fail or ranking system.  
My colleagues and I knew that the education system and its method of accountability was not working in the best interest of the children when it came to assessing each learner's progress.  As a parent, I have a new group of peers that don't have the same background as I do and don't know how children learn and how it should be "assessed".  They hear about the tests, the rankings and accountability and want to make sure their child will be prepared for school.    So, today I wanted to talk about The Art of Early Learning for all the parents who are creating the learning foundation for their little ones.
1. Early Learning can look like a MESS!  Your 2 year old may count to 10 one day and throw a bowl of cheerios at you the next.  Your 4 year old will probably still scribble when coloring a picture and cut crooked on a straight line.  Your 5 year old may know all the sounds of the alphabet, but is unable to identify some of the letters.  Learning can look like a mess, but it is NOT!!!

Every child learns at their own pace, which means every child learns differently.  If your child's friend across the street can read books, but your child doesn't know the alphabet...THAT'S OKAY!  When everyone learns differently it can look messy, but it's's just early learning.  Early learning involves children studying and exploring the world and taking away different experiences.  Teachers know and are trained to differentiate or distinguish learning goals for each child and how to address those needs in the classroom.  Your job as a parent is to focus ONLY on your child and NOT COMPARE your child to any other.
2. Early Learning is COLORFUL!  If you expect your toddler to color a printable of an apple to learn the color red or your 5 year old to complete worksheet after worksheet to help them learn to might have the wrong idea of early learning.  Early learning should be colorful...full of fun, games and lots of play.  How will they learn by playing, you ask?

Children play, they are wired to play and that is how they learn.  Our task as the adults in their life is to make their time "playing" as beneficial to them as possible.  Whether, they are learning how to share toys with a new friend at age 2 or playing "I Spy" on the way to grandma's and looking for letters of the alphabet at age 4.  We can make the most of the games they play.  When learning is disguised as play, children don't even know they are learning while having so much's quite genius!!!
2. Early Learning takes TIME!  You can't rush a masterpiece!  So, if you want your 3 year old to be reading on a first grade level...try climbing Mount Everest instead.  Don't pressure your toddler or preschooler to complete tasks they SHOULD NOT be attempting until they are ready...let's say reading on a first grade level in first grade!

Let your child guide you through their learning...takes cues from their interests, questions, statements, or skills they acquire.  Don't try to force your child into something they are not ready for.  Sight word readers at age 3...NO WAY...get out those picture books and experience literature at its finest (comprehension, retelling and picture cues are way more important at this age than the word "see" anyways).  If your child struggles with letter sounds it would probably not be the best idea to start blending CVC words together.    Let the art of your child's own learning guide the activities and games you do together, otherwise a masterpiece could turn into tearful mess.
 2. Early Learning is PRICELESS!  Early learning is the foundation that your child's primary education will be built on...that's a big deal.  If you pressure, push and burn out your child before they start elementary are setting the stage for an exhausting learning journey.  By valuing the precious learning experiences at this early age you can impress upon your child the importance of every learning opportunity.  You can teach them that THEY are more important than the standards set upon them while still showing them how to work hard to learn new skills.

You cannot turn back the clock and give your child back the experiences they gain during this stage of life.  The social skills they acquire, jumping in puddles, finger-painting, playing on their own, and simply enjoying childhood are building blocks that form the type of student your child will be.  Train them up right!
I am not suggesting to let your child run around in their underwear and have free reign every day with no expectations (although we might be pant-less most days from May-September in our house)...I am suggesting that you let you child be a CHILD and let them learn at his or her own pace while providing activities to foster AGE APPROPRIATE skills.  Don't conform to the standards and expectations you may believe to be the norm, but follow your own child's learning path and you may be surprised at the masterpiece that is created!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Summer Incentive Charts

Summer is here...the sun is shining, water is splashing, kids are laughing and screaming and running and hitting and crying and getting into everything and...when does school start???  
I don't know about you, but while I LOVE having my kiddos home all summer they definitely need a little motivation to stay on the right track...enter Incentive Charts!  
Little man has a sticker chart and he gets to earn a sticker for various tasks...helping his sister with a toy, cleaning up without being told, helping with dinner, etc.  These are tasks that are NOT on his {chore chart}, these tasks go above and beyond or are completed with an EXTRA positive (insert arm swing) attitude. 
When we began the sticker chart, Grayson chose a reward, he was able to chose from a small toy, outing as a family or he could barter to see what we were willing to offer.  Having a reward established and ready to go is so important!  He choose a Rescue Bots Book that he had been wanting for a little while...they are sitting next to his sticker chart ready for it to fill up!
Now for the fun can grab these chart for FREE at my {TpT Store}!  Be sure to let me know how your little one(s) does with their chart!  

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

All The Little Fathers: A Father's Day Book

My children are so blessed to have the amazing father that they do and we are blessed that my husband is home most evenings and nights to spend time with our family.  Since, Grayson was born my husband has given him a bath and put him to bed...well, most nights. 
As, he has gotten older this time has become so special for the two of them.  Since, our children spend the majority of their day with me they relish the moments they have splashing, cuddling, reading and praying with their Daddy!
All The Little Fathers by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Marilyn Faucher tells the story of many fathers in the world.  Insects, lions, giraffes, monkeys, kittens and more...this book has so many examples of loving and caring fathers and how each other them show their love differently for their little ones.  
However, the book ends in a way that reminds me of the memories my children will always have of their father...putting them to bed at night.  
This book is written with simple, repetitive text that will have your children reading along in no time (including sight words: all, the, & were).  And, the illustrations are beautifully done with so much detail and a variety of opportunities for counting, looking for colors and much more!
So, whether you are looking for a Father's Day gift or just want to add new book to you bedtime collection be sure to check out All The Little Fathers and let the daddies tuck the little ones in tonight!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rhyming Popsicles: Summer Rhyming Practice

Whether you are teaching summer school or preparing learning activities for your little ones at home...a matching game is quick, easy to prep and always FUN!  
Grayson and I have begun using my {Summer Preschool Packet} to help prepare him for Pre-K in the fall.  This {Rhyming Popsicles Matching Game} is included and little man loved playing it.  He has been a HUGE fan of rhyming words and is always up for a card game.  
After playing the game together, which Grayson won 16-12, he completed the Rhyming Popsicles workpage.  This was a perfect way to continue practicing writing his name, cutting with scissors and assessing matching rhyming words.
If you want to grab this Rhyming Popsicles game {here}!  Happy teaching!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge: Makeover Madness

I am LOVING the TpT Seller Challenge going on right now! Week 1 is Makeover Madness which is fantastic because that is EXACTLY what I am working on ALL the time this summer!  

I opened my store in 2011 and there was not a lot of clip art, backgrounds, borders, covers, frames, etc. to choose from..I mean could you image creating without all those KG fonts and Creative Clips to choose from...products just weren't as pretty as they are now.  So, needless to say I have a pretty large task on my hands this summer.

I am starting with some of my top selling products and one that I get a lot of change requests Science Notebook!  

This notebook still has it all...posters, a bookmark and a TON of half page resources perfect for kindergarten and first graders to complete and place in their composition I used them for.
 Well, it's my product so let's dig into the negatives shall we, 

1. The cover...not so pretty and no logo.
2. The posters...actual their not bad!
3. The printables...half pages ONLY...really?!?!  What was I thinking??? I had SO MANY teachers love them and so many teachers ask for the full page versions...well, I didn't make any...oops!
4. Clipart...I LOVE this clipart, but it was not made for print and did not come in black in white.

So, here are the changes I made, 

1. Square image with previews and logo.
2. Poster...fresh look!
3. Full and half page of all pages!
4. Add clipart and borders to all the, so pretty!

This product looks SO MUCH BETTER and I so happy with how the changes made this product look like a million bucks...don't worry that's not what I'm charging for it!!  Be sure to check my {Science Notebook} out on my TpT Store!

If you are a TpT Seller be sure to join the challenge with these fabulous bloggers...

Friday, June 12, 2015

The Fruit of the Spirit Necklace

Happy Friday!  I am SO excited to share the printable with you today.  Jared and I taught pre-k last quarter at church and we ended the quarter teaching the Fruit of the Spirit.

I posted a picture on Instagram of our craft from the lesson and wanted to share the printable on my blog, but just haven't had a chance until now.  

We started the class by reading 9 Fruits Alive together, then we sang the "Fruit of the Spirit" song together.  Each student picked a fruit and they loved it!  By the end of the class, they were all able to sing each fruit of the spirit.

We sang the song again and discussed each fruit of the spirit in detail as we made our necklaces together.  First, have the children color the pictures.  Next, have them cut the large circle and use a 2 inch puncher to cut out the small circles.  Then, use a hole punch to punch holes in each of the circles.  Finally, have the children string the circles on yarn or string to create a necklace.   A fun, easy and simple to help your little learners remember the fruits of the spirit!  You can download this printable {here}.