Monday, July 6, 2015

Monday Made It: July 6th

My first made-it happened because I had an extra one of these:

I was no longer using it as a bulletin board so I decided to re-purpose it. I found some wooden pushpins at Walmart and stuck them in with a little help from a hammer. Then I hung it on the wall of my closet and now I have this:

I decided I wanted to have a drawer for each day of the week to replace the crate/hanging files that I've been using. I also wanted it to be pretty, so decided to try the whole spray paint the plastic thing. I only bought one set of drawers at Walmart (in case it didn't go well!) so will have to go back next week and get another to paint. Pretty happy with the way it turned out!

I finally completed a project I started last summer. My clip art binder will help so much as I try to find the right clips for the activities I put together! I wish every clip artist would include a page showing everything in their sets -- if they do I just print out in greyscale. For others I came up with a format to show just one or two pieces from a set along with the title so I can still find it in my huge electronic file (I have a slight clip art addiction and have no need of an intervention!).


Be sure to link up over at 4th Grade Frolics to show off your made-its.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Giveaway - for real this time!

I made an embarassing goof - I announced a giveaway for Tuesday on my FB page and did not get it posted. If you are interested in a free copy of this product:


please go to my Math is Elementary page and leave a comment for a chance to win it.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Shop 'Til You Drop

No, this is not a post about back to school shopping! This is the title of a new product I just put in my stores. I started  out intending to update this:

This one goes back to the days when I was still working in MS Word, so it was badly in need of updating. However, a funny thing happened along the way. I decided to turn it into a completely new product that was not tied to the holiday season. I also ended up expanding it to include two editions. I call them the "toy story" edition and the "back to school" edition. It's still about adding money amounts, but now there is a set of toy cards with prices (and without for differentiation) and a set of school supplies. I ended up spending a lot more time on it than projected and am very happy with the results! Since I teach third and we have no standards that include money I designed the school supplies edition to be used in September as a review of second grade math. The toy story edition has larger money amounts for later in the year -- but there is no holiday connection now.


I've uploaded this product to my TPT and TN stores, and have a giveaway today on my Facebook page -- check it out for a chance to get this for free.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Made It: June 29th

I saw this idea on The Brown Bag Teacher blog and thought it was genius. These card holders are made by slicing up a pool noodle. I used a sharp knife and cut a class set using about 1/2 of the noodle. 

Since I still had a piece of the noodle, I sliced it lengthwise to make pieces to go into my STEM box. I had actually picked up the noodle for that purpose, so I'll have to go back to get another one! I pick these up at the Dollar Tree, so no big deal!


I changed this product so much with my recent makeover, so I printed and laminated a new set for my classroom. Those plastic envelopes are my favorite way to store these activities. I usually put the book right into the envelope and file them in my cabinet.

I got so excited about making over my "Black Friday Shopping" product that I turned it into a brand new item! I originally made it to use in my classroom during the month of December; the replacement can be used throughout the year.


Looking forward to what you made this week. Be sure to link up!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Fiction Friday: June 26th

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate has been on my TBR list for months, and this week I finally got to it. Kek comes to America from Sudan to join his aunt and cousin, the other survivors of the massacre of his village. He tells his story in his own words, marveling and also being overwhelmed by so many strange things in this country. It's a difficult adjustment, and I love how Kek so often manages to keep a positive attitude (a contrast to his older cousin). 

I ordered this book because I'm trying to build up a set of books to enhance my STEM lessons. Then I hoped for the best! I'm very pleased with it, and planning how I will use it with my students this year. This is from Amazon: When seven-year-old Kondi decides to fashion a galimoto (a generic term for various push-toys made from wires and sticks), his older brother is convinced that a small boy should not undertake such a difficult project. Besides, the elder brother reminds him, Kondi does not have enough wire to make a toy. Readers follow the clever boy through his small African village on his quest to obtain the precious material from adults and other children through persuasion and old-fashioned know-how. Although he encounters many obstacles in his search, Kondi's persistence is rewarded. 

I decided to check in on my "Books I Want to Read" list and am so happy to see I've finished 3 out of the 5 I listed! I still need to read The Martian, and of course like many I'm waiting for the Harper Lee to be released. Not bad.

This book is a short story I published recently -- it is free today. I wrote a blog post yesterday telling about this.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Writing Journey

This post is a bit different from the norm; I'm going to share with you a story I recently published for Kindle.

Last Sunday (Father's Day) I was thinking about my own father. When I was born, he was stationed in Taiwan (Formosa) as a member of the Air Force. My mother and I flew there from Vermont when I was about 6 weeks old. Most of what I know about our time there I've gleaned from the letters they wrote to my grandparents -- my grandmother saved them all! I also know I came back from there speaking a mixture of english and chinese that I picked up from the people who worked in our home. Too bad I lost that!

When I was just one year old my father was killed in a military plane crash, so I grew up without knowing him. As a young adult, I was given a folder of memorabilia by my grandmother and it was then I learned that he loved to write. There were clippings from his high school newspaper showing a regular column he had created plus some other pieces of writing.

This is where the story "The Vigil" came from. I wanted to publish it in his honor, so I edited and revised it -- while keeping the story the way he wrote it -- and published it last week with Amazon. I have just put it on sale (FREE) through the weekend, so I'd love it if you would download it for your device. Just knowing someone will read it is my reason for putting it out there. It's not great lit - it's written by a teenager -- but I'd appreciate it if you would take the time to give it a quick review on amazon. 


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

(not so) Extreme Makeovers

I know a lot of you have seen the blogging challenge this summer that starts with making over some of your TPT products. I didn't choose to participate, but did plan to update and "beautify" some of my products. When I started, I was using Word (!) so I still have some of those to fix up, plus lots of boring covers. I started working on this last summer, but did not get much done. This year I am determined to be super productive and update everything that needs it PLUS develop new products. Here are a few things already done:

1. Equal Shares

2. Math and Money

3. We Love Candy Bar Fractions 

The first two products got major makeovers of the content and I'm much happier with them! Candy Bar Fractions had a content update last year, so I just wanted to give it a cosmetic face-lift this summer :) You can click each picture to see it in TPT.

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