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Thursday, July 30, 2015

How to Create a Carousel Ad on Facebook {Tutorial}

Hey, friends!

Sooo...I'm so excited about this. Like - probably too excited about this. I think you will be too!

Today, I'm going to show you how to create a carousel ad for Facebook.

"What's a carousel ad for Facebook?", you may ask.

Well, my friends, it's a nifty little way to advertise a product, a blog post, or your website with rotating images. The best part?! This ad doesn't cost any more than a regular ad on Facebook does, AND you can have up to 5 clickable, rotating images in the ad.

{Did you get as excited as I did?!}

I first saw these about a month ago, and I just had to figure it out myself! So, I did. And here's how you can create a carousel ad for yourself.

Have you created your carousel ad yet? 

I hope you found this tutorial helpful! :)

Monday, July 27, 2015

ASSESS ME! {Week 1} Linky

So...Rachel from The Tattooed Teacher has a super fun linky for B2S!

Without further ado, here's some random crap about me that you may or may not want to know, but it's fun to do this kinda stuff, so why not?!


Want to link up? Visit Rachel's blog!


Friday, July 24, 2015

I like KIDS' BOOKS & I can not LIE {LINKY PARTY}

Oh. my. word. Becky, look at her library.

Yes. it's true. Teachers obsess and drool over trade books.

Several years ago for Christmas, I just asked for Amazon gift cards to order the rest of the Chris Van Allsburg books so I could complete my collection. Yes. This is my life.

After sharing a Periscope the other night with this same title, I thought it would be fun to create a linky that features everyone's "favorites" when it comes to the children's literature that we use day in and day out.

Brace yourself for this awesomeness. And for the fact that you could be a couple hundred bucks shorter after reading everyone's link ups. Hey - you gotta buy whatcha gotta buy!
It's almost impossible to narrow down my favorite children's book of all time. 

I thought long and hard about this, but I've finally narrowed it down. 

When I think about books from my childhood, this one book stands out. I remember my mom reading me Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber. 

I don't know why I loved this book so much, other than I loved the simple illustrations. Also, I loved how fun it looked when Ira and Reggie (his friend's house he went to sleep over at) would play and work on their stamp collection.

I've read this book several times to my class. It's great for making text connections with themselves. Also, it's great for discussing point of view and perspective. We see how Ira's sister makes fun of him because he heads to Reggie's house to sleep, but is scared to take his teddy bear because Ira's sister said Reggie will make fun of him. I love the mom and dad's perspective, being protective of Ira's innocence and encouraging him to be himself, and not worry what Reggie thinks. Poor little Ira has such internal conflict over whether or not to show Reggie his teddy bear that he sleeps with as he tells the story from his point of view. In the end, Ira decides to sleep with his bear and to his surprise, Reggie too has a special teddy bear he sleeps with. 



There is nothing by Chris VanAllsburg that I don't love. He. is. da. man.

Not only does he write extremely creative and thought provoking books, he illustrates them as well.

If you are looking for children's literature that inspires true rigor in your lessons, look no farther than Chris Van Allsburg. I use his books nonstop in mini lessons and in small group.

Here are skills that I teach using a few of his books:

Ok. I'm not going to lie. Chris Van Allsburg is my all-time-favorite illustrator, but since I've referenced him far too many times in this blog post already, I thought I'd break it up with a little Ezra Jack Keats action. (Also, it was starting to get a little creepy.)

I do love all of Ezra Jack Keats' books. They are so cute and the kids love them. But nothing beats his illustrations. The colors are so vibrant and the illustrations of the children are so cute, you just want to put them in your pocket and call it a day. I mean, do you see that little snow angel from The Snowy Day? I mean. There are no words with that little orange outfit on. I kinda wish they made one in my size, but the cuteness factor would be out the window...sooo....

Here are a few of my favorite Ezra Jack Keats' books that the illustrations are to die for:



Point of view is one of those skills that kids have a hard time wrapping their little brains around. However, if you have the perfect mentor text when you introduce this skill, your kids will get it immediately.

I love, love, love using The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka to introduce point of view. It's great because it tells the story that we know and love of the three little pigs, but from the Wolf's viewpoint. He gives reasons and examples of why he is so innocent. He gives reasons for why things happened the way they happened with the pigs. 

The illustrations are phenomenial and the story is just too cute. 

The kids totally get the idea of point of view using this book because they are so familiar with the turmoil and horror the pigs faced in "reality" that they are able to see the twists and lies that the Wolf presents to the reader. 

I've created a mini-unit using this book that I've used several times in class. It's my number one, best seller on TpT. Check it may find it handy to use when teaching point of view this school year! {Click on the images to head to the product in my store!}

Link up with your favorite KIDS' BOOKS! I can't wait to see what you have to say!

How to {{MAXIMIZE}} your Planning Period

Look. If you're not a teacher, you won't get this.

If you are a teacher, there is no need to explain the sacredness {is that even a word?!} of a teacher's planning period.

I've worked in the "real world" and I've worked in the classroom. Two *TOTALLY* different jungles (on many, many levels).

When you get your next year's schedule, you look at *three* things: (1) Lunch time, (2) the time blocked off to teach your curriculum and (3) your planning period.

I've worked in 3 different districts. I've had planning periods in the morning, the afternoon and as short as 45 minutes and as long as an hour and a half (seriously. first thing in the morning. 1 1/2 was *truly* glorious. that school, we stayed til 5:00...and that's a totally different blog post).

I've also had required *weekly* meetings during my planning periods in one district, and in another, total freedom to run an errand outside of school if needed.

No matter what my planning period has looked like in the past, I've used the minutes I've been given to ssstttreeeetttcchhhhh and sqqqqquuueezzzeee every last ounce of time I could so that I could leave as soon as I was allowed to after school. (Yes, I'm that teacher).

Now, I'm not saying you can't have any fun, or go pee or drink a Diet Coke and eat a brownie during your planning period.

Some days, you just gotta eat a whole bag of Starbursts jellybeans with your team mates while "discussing school matters" during your sacred, golden, heavenly moments  with adults behind closed doors. {Not that I've ever done this...or...anything. *Ahem*}

...buuuutttt anyways...Most days, I maximized my planning time to the best of my ability. Yes, I took home many papers to grade (just ask my dear husband), but I wanted to make sure I used the time I was given to get done *as much* as I possibly could to plan and prepare for the following week.

Here's how I did it...

Have a Curriculum Map
The best way to ensure that your planning time is spent actually planning for the next week is by setting a pacing guide for the year before school starts.

Some districts require you to do this, some don't.

Some districts have these already made for you, some don't.

If you already have a curriculum map, then you are set!

If you have never created a curriculum map, I highly advise it.

There is no right or wrong way to create a curriculum map (unless the "higher-ups" say there is, then you nod your head, say, "Yes, sir!" and do it how they want you to). Some are super detailed and others just list skills and CCSS covered each week of the school year.

Sunny Days in Second Grade has an *awesome post* about creating a curriculum map and she even has a template for you to use! {Leave her love if you use it! It's great!}

Here are some other examples I have found. Do what works best for you and helps you to know which direction you are going each week.
curriculum map
1st grade pacing map example

And here's another {{FREE}} Curriculum Map freebie from A Modern Teacher on TpT.

If you'd like something super basic, here is my 1st 9 Weeks At a Glance Post-It planner page. You can get all 4-9 weeks {FOR FREE} in my TpT store.

Once you know what you are planning for the next week, it's just as much work (if not more) gathering the resources and materials you need for your lesson planning. 

If I needed to make a parent phone call or write a parent note, I'd do that first thing before starting on any of my planning. Don't let parent communication slip because you feel overwhelmed. 

If you have meetings each week, use this planning guide so that you can plan out each day of your planning period with Post-It notes

Each day of the week, I determined what I would be planning for and doing each day.  

For example, most Mondays were shot. It was the start of the week and for whatever reason, my planning periods are always taken no matter what district I was in. Also, my team would discuss what was coming up for the week and sometimes we'd tweak the curriculum map if needed. 

Therefore, on Tuesdays, I set aside this day to type out my lesson plans. That's all I did on Tuesday.

On Wednesdays, I made copies that I needed for the next week and stored them in labeled file folders and in a wire wrack on my small group desk to grab and go when I needed them for the next week on a particular day.

Thursdays I would get the trade books or other materials I'd need for the next week. If I needed certain anchor charts made, posters blown up or activities made for literacy centers, I'd work on this.

Fridays were catch-up days. If I had a meeting one of the other days, I'd just push everything back a day. 

Ok. I'm just going to say this. Blame it on me if people start calling you the "school hermit". 

Buuuuuttttttttt..... Shut the door. 

There. I said it for you. 

Drop your kids off at specials, run to the bathroom before the school nurse has to call your mom to bring you an extra pair of undies, grab a drink (like, from the Coke machine-kinda-drink) and head back to your room and Shut. The. Door. 

Do what needs to be done so that you can leave on time, or if you want to chat after school with your friends, you can do that with a clear "planning conscience". 

I never worried about closing my door. It's just what I did. I wasn't unsocial. I was just productive. 

As stated above, some days you just need to sit. And chat and eat and spill your guts with your friends. Been there, done that too many times to count. 

Don't let the time get away from you.

Unless dictated by the district (been there, done that, bought the shirt), your planning period is for you and your sanity to get things done.

Say "No!" to:

  • wasted time
  • disorganization
  • no plan
  • unnecessary gab sessions that leave you farther behind for the week
What is your favorite planning or organization tip for other teachers?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

{FREE} Digital Books Online

I don't know about you, but as a reading teacher, when I hear the words free and books in the same sentence, you better watch out. I'm there. Front row.

It's always fun to have a few different ways to introduce literature to your students. There's nothing like a good 'ole picture book reading from the carpet during a mini-lesson. 

Sometimes, however, it's fun to have other options. 

I've used these sites many times and in many ways in my classroom. Fluency rotations (students used the computers, read/listened to the books and then completed a graphic organizer to practice comprehension skills), during a mini-lesson on a projector,  as rewards (students go to sit at *my teacher desk* and read/listen to these books on my computer) and at the end of the day, sometimes I'd turn on my projector and we'd choose a fun book and a student would read the book to my class.

There are tons of ways you could utilize these sites in your classrooms for your students.  I'm excited for you to check them out!

So, without further ado, here are...

The Library of Congress:

This site is *full* of classics for children to read. I love this site because it has *tons* of books that children from many generations have loved and shared. has many chapter books, that would be great to use as a read-aloud in the afternoons. You can bookmark where you leave off, and pick up the next day.

Here is the classic Jack and the Beanstalk. It's a chapter book, with lovely illustrations, and perfect for 3rd-5th graders.

This would also be a great way to implement buddy reading on iPads.

Check out:

We Give Books

I absolutely *adore* We Give Books! There are so many reasons to love this free book site! Let me just list a few:
1) Their selection of books is large! The variety of topics and age ranges is wonderful.
2) This site would work for K-5 grades.
3) The site switches books ever so often. Students can visit this site multiple times in a school year and never have to read the same book twice.
4) The books list age ranges underneath each title. PERFECT for choosing books if you need one for a mini-lesson.
5) They feature both fiction and nonfiction books that are high-interest for students!

Here is what you see when you enter the site. A cute little digital book shelf! Totes-adorbs!

I loved to put these up on the board in the afternoons for my students to read aloud to my class. Of course, they loved that!

Once you click on a book to read it, I love that in the top right hand corner, it tells the number of students around the world that have read this same book! How cool!

Check out:

Storyline Online

Ok. I am like *obsessed* with this site.

I found this site years ago when I was student teaching and have used each every year in my classroom in one way or another. It's just precious. 

I always had this a fluency option. Students would listen to the reader at a computer (I'd decide which books they could choose from). Then, they'd practice reading the *same book* with a pvc pipe phone at their desk.

This site features top children's literature, read aloud by celebrities and children's authors. It's sponsored by The Screenactor's Guild and since 1993, they have been sharing these lovely books with children to love.

For example, one of my favorites is A Bad Case of the Stripes read by Sean Astin.

The site doesn't have all of it's videos posted, so they have all their current and past read alouds on their YouTube site here:

OH! And I can't forget this one...I love listening to Pamela Reed read aloud Stellaluna. So sweet! I always showed this before our Halloween parties at school! :)

I hope you can use these sites this school year with your students! I know they will love them!

Have you used any of these sites in the past at school? If so, how? I'd love to hear! 

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