Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Take the Stress out of Spelling Stations!

Hi Friends!
I don't often dedicate a whole blog post to one of my TpT products, but I am so excited about my new Word Smarts Spelling Stations {20 Station Set} that I wanted to share!  If you stick with me...  there's a FREEBIE at the end.  :)

Word Smarts Spelling Stations
If you've followed my blog at all, you know that about this time last year I wrote a blog post series about spelling...  my frustration with teaching it, my research on it, my "Ah Ha" moments, and my new found philosophy on teaching it.

1.  Word Smarts:  Managing Individualized Spelling in the Classroom
2.  Word Smarts:  Developing a Spelling Consciousness in the Classroom
3.  Word Smarts: Managing Partner Spelling Tests in the Classroom
4.  Word Smarts: Instilling a Desire to Spell Correctly in the Classroom.

All of that brought around a spelling resource called "Word Smarts".  I packaged everything I thought a teacher would need to teach spelling for a year into a bundle and put it up for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers.  It was well received and since then I have been creating and adding resources to that bundle.  Every time I think of something I need to make spelling a more meaningful experience in class, I make it and add it.

This last school year I found myself struggling at times getting stations ready for my students.  Every Friday afternoon I'd find myself with the containers all laid out and me standing there thinking about what I was going to do for the next week.  Then, once I had thought of it, I'd have to gather, prep, and copy the materials.  This gave me many a late evening after a long week, when I really just wanted to go home, turn on the TV, put my feet up and snuggle with my fur babies!

This got me thinking about the millions of other teachers out there who might be in the same boat.  Granted, many teachers are much more organized than me, but there have got to be ones who want some time saving, stress free options for spelling and word work stations.

So, this last week I finally locked myself to my computer and created the resource I'm talking about today.  I'm super excited about it!  I've already printed it out and am ready to go.  I'll probably do some laminating of the game boards, and I might even have the game boards printed larger, but other than that I'm ready for a year's worth of spelling stations!

Station Cards have both student directions and the materials needed list.  To prep, simply look at the back of the card and gather the few items needed.

The resource also includes 26 word lists.  These aren't random word lists.  They are based on spelling rules and patterns and range in complexity from 3rd grade to 5th grade level.  If you own the Word Smarts Spelling Bundle mentioned above, the lists correspond to the weekly spelling lists in that resource.  The spelling lists are bold and italicized for easy location.  

There are 7+ Word Sorts and there is the versatility to create more depending on the needs of the child.  Word sorts are a great way to get your students analyzing and interacting with words! 

There are 9 word work/spelling activities.  The activities support a variety of learning styles:  visual, kinesthetic, verbal, etc.  

My favorite part are the board games!  

I had so much fun making them!  

I've also included a Turn-In folder cover.  I use to have my students keep their station work and then turn it all in at the end of the cycle, but then I would have to spend time sorting all of the papers into piles.  Now, at the end of that station time, students put their work into the turn in file/folder and when the station cycle is over, all of the papers are already sorted!  I don't know why it took me so long to figure that out! 

Station signs and a binder spine are also included.  I like to keep my resources in binders and bright colored spines make them easier to find (and it makes them prettier. )

I think I've included in this resource everything a teacher needs (minus game markers, dry erase markers, and a paperclip) to get him/her organized for spelling stations for the year!  

One of the great things about this resource is that you can use the same station week after week and just change out the word lists.  You could have several stations going at once.  You could switch out stations from week to week with very little hassle.  There is a lot of versatility here.  

I've tried to take the stress out of stations.  I know I am already breathing a sigh of relief and I still have 4 weeks of summer left.  :)  

If you want to know more, here are the RESOURCE OVERVIEW and TABLE of CONTENTS for the download.  If you don't want to know more, scroll to the bottom for a link to a FREE SAMPLE of  the Word Smarts Spelling Stations {20 Station Set}! 

Okay...  Thank you for sticking with me... as you can tell, I'm really excited to share this with you!  here is the link to the FREEBIE.   If you download, please consider leaving some feedback and a rating.  Your input is important to me!  

Thanks again for visiting and letting me share this resource with you!  I'm looking forward to less stress Fridays this next school year and I hope that it gives other teachers more  freedom and flexibility in their own classrooms.  Time is a valuable resource and anything we can do to help each other save more of it is valuable.  

Until next time,

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Periscope Mania

Ever since the TpT convention in Las Vegas, everywhere I look I see people talking about Periscope. I signed up for it moments after I heard about it and love watching all the amazing teacher bloggers share their ideas, tips, and more.  I've yet to do a broadcast, but I'm slowly working up the nerve.  It's such a great and interactive platform to share and collaborate with one another!

Another great thing about Periscope is that you can watch and interact with people all over the world.  One of my friends posted on Facebook today that she "joined a plank challenge with a coach in NYC, "Attended" the NCTM math class in AZ on student math identity, participated in a poetry slam in Chicago, made a cappuccino with a barista in Italy, and "walked" through a live tour of the Taj Mahal with a teacher in India!"  Amazing right?!  One little app bringing the world together in amazing ways!

If you haven't signed up for Periscope, take a look at it.  Its a free app and so easy to use.  You don't have to broadcast yourself if that makes you uncomfortable, but you can see and interact with amazing teachers and see the world as you've never seen it before!

You can find me on Periscope at Literacy Loves Company @LiteracyLovesCo !  I'd love to see you there!  Looking for other amazing teachers to follow?  I'm linking up with Sheila Jane Teaching who is showcasing some phenomenal teacher/blogger/scopers active on Periscope.  Visit her website to check out her recommendations.

Until next time...

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Top 10 Things I Loved About TpTVegas15

I'm excited to be linking up with Elementary Entourage this week to share my experience at TpTVegas15!

This was my first year going to the TpT Conference in Las Vegas.  Last year I had only been a TpT seller for about six months and felt too new to go.  As soon as conference time rolled around I regretted it.  I saw pictures, Facebook posts, forum threads, blog posts...   I made up my mind right then and there that this year I would attend.

As soon as the conference was announced this year, I signed up.  I bought my plane ticket and booked my hotel.  I made the financial commitment to go and I couldn't back out.  

Now, its about five months later and I'm sitting here reflecting on the last 4 days.  I can't even begin to convey to you all of the wisdom, insight, and enthusiasm that was freely shared by so many during TpTVegas15, I'm still trying to soak it all in myself, but I would like to share with you the top 10 things I loved about this experience.  

10.  I loved meeting new people.  I'm not an extrovert when it comes to big gatherings.  Being around so many people can be a little difficult for me, but I met some great people over the last 4 days.

9.  I loved the stories.  From top sellers to new sellers, everyone has a story about what inspired them to start their store, the positive impact TpT has had on their families, their teaching, and their lives in general.

8.  I loved the collaboration.  Where else would you find top sellers sharing their secrets of success?  At TeachersPayTeachers, and especially at TpTVegas15, sellers don't view each others as competition.  People share what works for them, how to make their products better, and how to reach new buyers.  The support and sense of community was amazing.

7.  I loved the enthusiasm.  Everywhere you turned there were people excited about TpT.  Only other TpT-ers understand the love, excitement, and appreciation for what TpT has done for teachers all over the world, not just sellers, but also buyers.

6.  I loved the Meet and Greets.  My favorite Meet and Greet was the "Cool Kids Meet and Greet"  There were about 100 + people there and everyone was so friendly.  It was at B&B Burger in The Venetian.  I was also able to finally meet a group of sellers from my Upper Elementary Collaborative Facebook group.  Both of these events were a lot of fun and I met more wonderful people.

5.  I loved my BED!  Seriously!  I stayed at Delano, which is part of Mandalay Bay and it has the MOST comfortable beds!  I wanted to take it home with me, but my suitcase wasn't big enough.

4.  I loved the pool time!

3.  I loved the Strip (Well, most of it!).  Every night I walked the strip.  The Delano is on the other end of the strip, so in the mornings I took a cab to the conference and in the evenings I walked back.  I racked up some serious steps.

2.  I love the SWAG.  What teacher doesn't love free items, right?

1.  Most of all I loved and still love the encouragement.  At every session the presenters had a "You can do it!"  attitude and that makes me feel like I really can do it!  I learned so much and came away from the conference with renewed energy, wonderful ideas for marketing and design and a firm belief that building my store and finding success was achievable.  I also walked away with a HUGE to-do list, but with that list comes goals to reach.

If you weren't able to go to the conference this year, make it your goal to go next year.  Invest in yourself and your business.  You will never regret making the decision to go, you will only regret that you didn't do it sooner!

Need more convincing?  Head on over to Elementary Entourage and check out all of the inspirational blog posts linked up there.  You are sure to gain some tips, insights, and motivation!