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About me

Las Vegas 2014 Conference!

I must admit I was a little nervous about flying somewhere ALL BY MYSELF where I knew NO ONE, but everything turned out great!  I met lots of new people and passed out business cards like a school girl passes out Valentines.  I met Deanna Jump in person.  She is absolutely precious!  I love how she said at the end of her presentation to STAY HUMBLE and STAY GRATEFUL.  I truly think being humble and thankful with the mix of hard work is the secret to achieving just about anything in life.  I am glad she is the “poster child” so to speak for Teachers Pay Teachers!  I also met Paul the founder!  The staff of TPT seem like truly good people!

I saw Jen Jones in person, but didn’t get to meet her. She has all those wonderful fonts which I have purchased!

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I also saw Rachel Lynette.  Her practical advice and common sense suggestions really helped me know how to improve my TPT store!  She presented her advice in a very witty way.  My newly made Canadian friend said, “Oh! Isn’t she a firecracker!” I don’t think I could have put it any better!  Rachel expressed that you need to evoke the emotions of your reader to keep them reading your blog with humor, sadness, happiness etc.  Thank you, Rachel!

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I also saw Erin Cobb, who was so generous and helpful!  The one thing that she solidified with me is that success is out there, but are you willing to work hard enough to go after it.  I think many people think that TPT is a get rich quick scheme, but the folks who are successful are VERY HARD WORKERS!   I didn’t think to take a picture of her :/!  Hey, it was after lunch!

When we registered for the conference we also got these super nice teacher goodies that I am going to show off this upcoming school year!  I am forever taking a thermos bottle to work so this one will work out great!  The durable canvas tote bag will definitely come in handy when I need to take things home from school.  We also received a very nice teacher pin and bumper sticker.

VegasTrip-8 Here is an up close image of the teacher pin.VegasTrip-9

I also came with goodies of my own.  I had business cards, but I also handed out pens because I figure that people may throw away business cards, but they won’t most likely throw away a good pen!  Plus, imagine the distances a good pen will travel especially in a school!

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So my order of gray T-shirts came in or shall I say “asphalt” like the store calls them.  I loved them and they were very comfortable throughout the trip.  Lots of people gave me compliments on them.  I will be giving some shirts away later this month like promised.  I feel so disorganized right now after the trip that I just need a little time to tuck  small chunks of myself back into drawers and closets:)!

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This is the hotel the conference was in…well, a small portion of the hotel–the Venetian Pallazzo..   When I asked for directions to the “Pilazzio”, I was quickly corrected by the bell man–“pah-lah-t-zo”.  I had never been to Las Vegas and must say I have never seen such a large hotel.  The only one I can think of that rivals this is the Opryland Hotel in Nashville (a must see), but that doesn’t even come close.  This hotel has a mall, food court, casino, and hotel all rolled into one.  Not to mention it has beautiful architecture, enormous fountains, and gondola rides!

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The one touristy thing I wanted to do was see the Bellagio Fountains, so that is what I did.  They ARE a beautiful must see!  I strolled by an alien, Marilyn Monroe, a transformer, a guitarist, and other various street performers along the way but eventually saw them!

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I am so glad for the opportunity to have made new friends and to have seen Las Vegas!

5 Days of Work Later…

My room is starting to come together after throwing away lots of stuff and moving some things into storage, I have more space!  Everything is all dusted off!  As you can see I have graduated from the enormous trashcan to my normal one.  My  trashcan went MIA at the end of last year…mysteriously the custodian found me another one.  As you can see my normal trashcan runneth over.  Surely cleanliness and organization will follow me all the days of my 13-14 school year!

Hmmm…I still need something for all that ugly white space on the walls…I think I will wait on covering it.  I may make some charts with our teachers during a planning session to hang up there.

Coming soon…you will get to see a picture of my creative math door!!! You’re going to love it!!!  I’m so excited about putting it together, but I must focus on what’s important first–getting ready for my PD presentation on Wednesday! :/

If I could have a frivolous  full time job, it would be bulletin board and door decorating extraordinaire! Any takers? 🙂

Day 1 Monday…Going Home Covered in Dust!

Here is a look at what I came back to Monday–my little room piled to the ceiling.

Dusty Day 1 and I’m back!

 

As you can see I am the goddess of math manipulatives.  The secretary says if I get any more math tools that you won’t be able to find me!

Before I came to school, I had all these cleaning ambitions, but when I left 6 hours later all I could boast about was this one shelf that I cleaned out.  I guess the custodian thought I looked like I needed the WHOLE trashcan cause he brought me one and 3 additional trash bags!  I threw away notebooks that I had saved from 4 years ago…you know “just in case” I might need them for something!  I finally decided that if I hadn’t used it in all those years, that I wasn’t going to.  

Ta-da! All color coordinated and everything!

Should You Sell Products on Teachers Pay Teachers?

I have noticed a lot of people read a very old post I had done on this topic, so I thought I would re-post about the growth I have seen in my endeavor.  I joined TPT in September of 2008.  I put a few items up which were only one page that I charged $1 for.  Every now in a blue moon one of them would sell , and so I wasn’t very motivated to work hard at this.  Last spring (2011) I started seeing the emails from TPT about Deanna Jump who had made more than her teaching salary.  I thought, “What am I missing here?”  From that point on, I got very serious about selling my items on TPT.  I got software to turn my items into PDF files.  All summer of 2011, I worked many, many hours to put materials up on the TPT site.  I think I sold one item all last summer.  Then August came and I made $11.58.  Mind you previous to this for all the 3 years I had products up, I had only made about $11.  Then September came, and I made $16.74.  It was at this point that I decided to upgrade my account and pay the $60 a year.  Previously I had the basic account where TPT takes a pretty large percentage of your sales however you pay no annual fee.  When you decide to become a premium seller, they only take 15% of your sales–which is totally worth it if you are selling $15 a month or so.  My sales only grew from there and steadily increased each month of the school year until I was making more than $100 a month.  Each time I got an email saying that I had sold an item, it just made my day.  I find it so gratifying that someone actually values the work that I do, and uses it to teach their own students.  I readily share the items with my colleagues at work, but somehow it is different when someone searches out what you did and finds it useful.

I won’t sugar coat the amount of work that went into what I did.  Selling on TPT takes work and patience.  I spent nearly every night sitting on the couch with my laptop after school working on my blog or on my products, and most of the summer that way as well.  I definitely would have made a lot more money with a part time job or doing after school tutoring.  However, the work that I do on making my products as perfect as possible helps me during the day with my ‘real’ job because I use those things with the students I work with. I just make them as pristine as possible to sell at home.  Selling an item on TPT is gratifying because the extra hours I spend working on something are actually rewarded.  I have learned SO much from this venture through blogging, through selling, through the comments on my blog, and on TPT.  I would dare say selling on TPT has given me an edge because I am learning through a world wide community which I hadn’t known was out there previous to this venture.  I am very thankful for this and for friends who encouraged me to pursue this further when I had only a small measure of success.  If you have the time to work outside of school and want to learn a lot from a community of talented teachers, then I would recommend you join the ranks of successful teacherpreneurs, too.

Click to go directly to the TPT site and begin selling now.

Happy Spring Break to ALL Who Celebrate!

Today marks the first day of my spring break.  I have no exciting travel plans.  I suppose I will have to live vicariously through someone else’s beach getaway.  I will be spending time with my furry friend, gardening, spring cleaning, catching up with friends, adding to my blog and completing some materials for TPT.  I may even refinish a piece of furniture somewhere in there.  I have been looking forward to working in my yard, and since I live in the south, it has already been VERY beautiful outside–reaching a balmy 83 today :).  So staying at home will almost be like the beach!

Other updates since I haven’t posted in a while:  I have been selected to attend a series of  math common core meetings which are led by Linda Griffith.  Linda Griffith has had experience working with researchers such as Constance Kami (one of the constructivist researchers I learned about in college).  She is an excellent professor who works at a state teachers college here.  She is funny, practical, and extremely smart.  I have learned so much from her!  The teachers and coaches who were selected to attend these meetings are responsible for training others in the district about common core math standards.  I will be eventually sharing what I have learned in pieces on my blog.  I will have to say that attending her meetings have sparked a passion in me again to teach mathematicians and NOT test takers!  I am sure many of you share the same divided feelings that I do when teaching.  You want to teach the child to mastery of a skill and ask probing questions to lead students there, however you have to COVER the material.  And so we sacrifice mastery for covering material.  Then when kids don’t score well, we scratch our heads and say, “Well, I covered it?”  Now, the common core standards will allow us to teach to mastery and let students learning and understanding guide our lessons instead of our need to COVER material.

Oh, and Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you all!

Finally I’m Back

Well, to update you all, about a week and a half ago my computer displayed a blue screen.  My laptop was so proud of its blue screen, it stubbornly decided that is all it would display.  The next morning I had my computer all ready to go out the door, and I locked myself out of the house since I was carrying so many things in my hands.  That’s the first time I’ve done that since I’ve moved into my house a year and a half ago.  At least I had my cell phone with me and I was able to call a locksmith.  While I waited in the car about 2 hours to find a locksmith and then wait on him to come unlock my door, my feet started feeling numb.  I just decided that I would chalk the day off to taking my computer in to be fixed since half the school day was gone anyway.  After describing my problem to the computer repair technician, he  said, “Yeah, we call that the blue screen of death.”  That was encouraging. :/   So, after waiting a little over a week, I finally have my old couch companion back minus its programs, but gladly with all files in tact. 🙂 YAY!  I guess the technician heard my laptop singing….”if I only had a brain” because it came back with a brand spanking new hard drive!

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, and since it is Christmas, I will share an excerpt from my favorite Christmas book.  I have made it somewhat of my own personal tradition to read this story every year at Christmas time to anyone who will listen, and I especially love to read the story to children!

“And I thought about the Angel of the Lord–Gladys, with her skinny legs and her dirty sneakers sticking out from under her robe, yelling at all of us, everywhere:  ” Hey! Unto you a child is born!”                                                    –The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

I hope you will enjoy this story, too!

 

Edible and VERY Cute Indian Village

 

Well, I have just dirtied up just about every dish in the kitchen and had fun doing so…thanks to an image I saw on pinterest!  I found this recipe at Christie’s blog for making teepee cone cupcakes, and decided to try it.  I am bringing it over to my friend’s dinner tomorrow.  I am hoping the kids will love them.  I didn’t do this for anything school related, however, if you are studying Indians and pilgrims, you could have the cupcake cones ready made for the students  to decorate.  The only things I did differently than the recipe at Christie’s blog is I used a large foil roaster pan instead, and I iced the bottom of the cones in addition to using the chocolate.  I couldn’t find leaf sprinkles at Wal-mart or Hobby Lobby, so I sifted through some colored ones I had and took out the pink and blue (I know ridiculous!).  Sadly, the stocker at Wal-mart told me that they had replaced the leaf sprinkles with Christmas sprinkles–and to think Thanksgiving isn’t even officially here!

In the Spirit of the Season…

Off topic,  I don’t have any children personally, so I am always wanting to give to someone else’s children.  I live on a small, quiet, dead end street with lots of children, but I don’t want to hand out candy all night on Halloween.  In lieu of handing out candy, I found some adorable glittery, polka dotted treat sacks at Hobby Lobby–their Halloween items are 30% off.  I have planned to stuff the sacks with candy and hand them out to the neighborhood kiddos before Halloween, so they are well endowed with candy :).  I did decide to hang up my fall wreath early (about 3 weeks ago) and am wondering if I should get some pumpkins to put on the porch.  A church down the street always sells some for a fundraiser…now to find a pretty ceramic pumpkin for my kitchen table.

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