Thursday, September 29, 2011

Teachers Pay Teachers Link Up: Math Freebies!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Teaching Tools - Special Needs

By Karla Banks

Teaching presents many challenges even for veteran teachers. Special education teachers have even more challenges to prepare for than your typical teacher. They need many tools to be successful teachers who enjoy their job and want to continue teaching. Special education teachers must be all of the following:

1.      Actors :

Teach the same skill in multiple formats. All children need lots of practice to master any new skill. Special education students need to be able to practice a skill in many formats. They may need to act it, draw it, sing it, dance, read it, play it, and any other way you can think of to teach it to them. The more they practice it and connect to the skill, the more likely they are to master the skill.

2.      Flexible:

Evaluate students’ understandings during lessons. Sometimes, even the most prepared lessons fail, even those hugely successful with other classes. You may have to change gears in the middle of lessons. Always have a back-up plan. The key is to be flexible and meet the needs of your students. Their needs will change frequently especially when you take into account home situations and medication issues.

3.      Behavior Specialists:

Class behavior plans work wonders. Try to focus on the positives as much as possible. My students begin each day with 100 points. Their job is to keep all 100 points. The more points they keep, the more privileges they are able to earn. If the students are misbehaving, I brag on others’ appropriate behaviors. If students misbehave, I tell them, “You are failing to earn your points.” The point system is a great motivator to encourage students to behave and treat classmates/teachers with respect.

4.      Paperwork Extraordinaire:

Invest in a good clipboard that has a compartment on it. All important papers go into the clipboard: emergency info, parent notes, etc... I keep a three ring binder for everything else sectioned by: blank spreadsheet (planning and differentiation), different days for special area classes, IEPs, standards, scheduling, students’ homerooms, teaching evaluations, etc…

5.      Detectives:

You will constantly be searching for solutions to various problems: how to teach  students to read, do math, write, speak, behave, cope… The best resources you have are the other teachers in your building, so ask for their advice. When in doubt, go with what feels right

6.      Learners:

A good teacher is always learning. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from your students. Take classes, read and share as much as you can. Support each other and develop a real network of people you can confide in.

7.      Mothers:

You will fix boo-boos, comb and style hair, wash faces, explain the facts of life (even in 1st grade), buy shoes and socks, teach children how to cook simple meals in the microwave, and so much more. Without building this caring relationship, the children will have no reasons to do any of the foreign things such as finding nouns and verbs.

The hardest lesson learned has also been the most valuable: behaviors of students cannot be forces to change  If I don’t like how my students are behaving, then I must figure out how to change my behaviors so my students will also change. Find ways to use meaningful praise with your students because they respond the most to positive feedback. Get to know them and their situations by inviting parents in and speaking with them, which gives an indication of what the family believes is “normal” behavior. If you can build a relationship with the child, they are more willing to try things your way whether it is behaving or learning.

Karla Banks has been teaching special education for 12 years in a Title One, urban school. The first 5 years were in a pull-out resource classroom. The last 7 years have been spent in a self-contained k-5th grade classroom with students of various disabilities.

Related Products at Teachers Pay Teachers:

Buggy Boogie Counting to 100   $2.00 
Card Games for Centers   $4.00 
Goin’ Fishin’Game  Free!
Lesson Plan File Folder $2.49 
Classroom Management Forms and Tips $3.95 
Share Your Knowledge $2.00 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Featured Teacher: Ann Marie Smith

Featured Seller

1.   How long have you been on Teachers Pay Teachers?  What made you decide to be a part of it?
I joined TPT as a Seller this past June 2011! I have accessed TPT for a couple of years, purchasing great products. While I had some major down time for a week this summer, I was searching around on TPT and decided, "Why not sell too?" So, I signed up.

2.   When did you know that you wanted to be in education?
Around my sophomore year in high school, I decided I wanted to teach. I was actually encouraged to explore other options due to the fact that teachers just don't make much at all, especially in Mississippi, but I was determined to do it anyway! Glad I did...

3.   How are you currently involved in education?
This is my 11th year in the classroom! I started out in Kindergarten and have spent a year each in K, 2nd grade, and 5th grade. I decided I wanted to move to middle school and taught 3 years in 7th grade and this is my 5th year in 8th grade. I have taught Language Arts throughout the time I've spent in 7th and 8th grade.

4.   What would be your advice to people who are considering joining Teachers Pay Teachers?
Be willing to collaborate with others, seek advice, share ideas, and enjoy learning how to be a better teacher!! Have patience and determination, as well as an imagination.

5.   What has been a highlight, thus far, about being on Teachers Pay Teachers?
I've learned so much in the way of networking, blogging, collaborating, etc. TPT has motivated me to be a better teacher in the classroom because I'm so much more eager to try new things. I spend more time "outside of the box" now.

6.   What is something fun about you that other teachers don’t know?
I love, love, love animals (I have 5 dogs) and acrylic painting. And, funny, I guess would have to be that two of my colleagues and I always have silly competitions amongst our classes. We always show off our students' work and presentations to each other's classes. All of our students expect us to "one up" the other!! Our students actually love visiting our three classrooms too. It keeps the students motivated as well as ourselves! We are the same way when it comes to fundraising and Spelling Bees....always a competition, but all in good fun!

7.   Do you participate in education outside of the classroom?  In what type of role?
For two summers, I had the summer job of grading a component for National Boards. I plan to seek the opportunity again after this school year. Currently, I am not involved with additional education.

8.   What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
Sometimes I contemplate counseling, although as a counselor in education. I get so attached to my students. I think I'd enjoy being a counselor.

9.   What profession would you not like to do?
I would hate to have any "cubicle" matter the work.

10. Who is your favorite author?  Favorite educational author?  And why?
I have two favorites at the moment, Suzanne Collins and Stephanie Meyer. I absolutely LOVED the Hunger Games Trilogy and the Twilight Saga. I own all the books, in their pretty hardback versions :)  I have been to see the Twilight movies and anxiously await the Breaking Dawn movies and The Hunger Games!!! I love books about vampires (weird, I know) and have several series of books on them; The Hunger Games books sucked me right in with its extreme measures and unpredictable plots! I can't name a favorite educational author because of the number of resources I truly think are awesome and all by various authors.

By Ann Marie Smith
Ann Marie's Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Ann Marie's Favorite Products

One creation is a Literature Activity Printables pack that I posted. We do several rounds of literature circles over the course of the year and have so many book titles that I needed a versatile tool that catered to text structures and literary elements for any novel/story. I love using them in my class. 

Literature Activity Printables

Another is my holiday poetry writing because it creates such a festive mood in my classroom during December!! My students love it every year. We display their poems and ornaments with lights in the classroom! 

Holiday Poetry Packet

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Teachers Pay Teachers Link Up: Creative Thinking!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Grab Your Sweet Smile, Fedora, and Tights...You're Teaching Pre-K and Kindergarten!

I think there is no better job in the world than being an early childhood educator.  It's a job that requires you to take on many different roles. As I was thinking about the various parts I play every day in the classroom, I began to think of teaching tips that could be associated with 3 inspirational movie characters. My husband, the movie buff, would be proud.  Here's a little bit of inspiration to start your school year.

Teaching Tip #1:  Be Miss Honey.  The best advice I ever received when I started teaching was:   "Every child wants the pretty teacher.  Be her." This teacher went on to explain what she meant by "pretty." Every child wants a teacher who is professionally dressed and well-groomed, one who smells nice and smiles a lot, just like Miss Honey, the nurturing, inspirational teacher from the movie, Matilda.  Every child wants and deserves a teacher who comes to school every day with his or her best foot forward: well-prepared, patient, and enthusiastic.  I remind myself every day that my students are worthy of the best me I have to offer.

Teaching Tip #2:  Be Indiana Jones.  If you teach preschool and kindergarten, you are not merely a teacher, but an explorer.  The world is vast and wide and full of adventures these little ones are just beginning to discover.  I have a colleague who is one of the best teachers I have ever seen.  I think one reason why is because she doesn't merely teach her class, she explores with them. This teacher recently discovered a baby bird while on an outing with her preschoolers.  As they watched the tiny bird, you could see the fascination in their eyes, taking it all in with a sense of childhood wonder.  I strive every day to be part teacher and part tour guide, assisting my students in their journey of discovery. 

Teaching Tip #3:  Be Robin.  Just as the sun rises every day, so are there constant playground disagreements.  Nine times out of ten, problems arise simply because someone doesn't want to take second billing.  All the girls want to be the mommy, not the baby.  All the boys want to be the Red Power Ranger for Halloween. (And get quite upset to find that more than one such outfit exists!)  But, as a teacher, I have to remember that my job is to be Robin, not Batman.  Let me explain.  Another great teacher I know often says, "Sometimes helping isn't helping."  He means that our job is to know when to step back, to assist if necessary, then move out of the way so the child can shine.  If you have ever read some of the literature on scaffolding, you know exactly what I am talking about.  Our task as teachers is to help each child remain in his/her zone of proximal development, the place where he/she needs only a little help to succeed.  Sometimes, in order to be a better teacher, I find myself placing my hands behind my back, resisting the urge to do something for a child, watching them struggle, finally accomplishing the task on their own. 

I hope you keep these 3 characters in mind as you return to work with some of the smallest students.  Let their archetypes inspire you to be the best teacher you can be, each and every day. 

By: Teacher Tam

Related Items from Teachers Pay Teachers:
Let's Learn Our ABC's Work Stations for Pre-K, $10.00

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Featured Teacher: Michelle Heisler

1.   How long have you been on Teachers Pay Teachers?  What made you decide to be a part of it?
I have been selling on TpT since June 2010. I have been selling my teaching resources since 2003 on other websites but when I learned about TpT and started selling here it quickly became my 'home' selling site.

2.   When did you know that you wanted to be in education?
As long as I can remember I wanted to be a teacher. I loved school as a child. I had many wonderful teachers over the years that inspired me to want to be 'just like them'!

3.   How are you currently involved in education?
At the current time creating and selling teaching resources is my main focus with education. Due to a disability I am no longer able to work as a regular classroom teacher. Creating new resources and being a part of the TpT community allows me to stay active and current in my field.

4.   What would be your advice to people who are considering joining Teachers Pay Teachers?
Take the plunge! Join in the forums and learn from all the outstanding people there. You will learn as you go to make your products more appealing to the mass market and you will make many great friends along the way!

5.   What has been a highlight, thus far, about being on Teachers Pay Teachers?
The highlight for me at TpT has been the camaraderie amongst the people in the forums. I have learned so much and am in awe of the vast talent that is there.

6.   What is something fun about you that other teachers don’t know?
I am a Disney World fanatic! I love all things Disney and I just feel 'at home' when I am there.

7.   Do you participate in education outside of the classroom?  In what type of role?
I am an active volunteer in my children's classrooms. It is very interesting to be on the other side of the desk and observe how other teachers do things. I have been very impressed with the skills and talent of all the teachers I have volunteered for.

8.   What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I love science. I am fascinated with the jobs on shows like CSI. Very intriguing!  Being a veterinarian would be a fantastic job too.  I also think it would be interesting to be in the law profession.

9.   What profession would you not like to do?
A job I know I could not handle is nursing.   My hat is off to the wonderful men and women that can do it, but I know it wouldn't be for me.

10. Who is your favorite author?  Favorite educational author?  And why?
Overall my favorite author is J.K. Rowling. I adore the Harry Potter series. She is a genius in the world she created and how she had the entire series planned out. I read many educational authors but I do not have a specific favorite. Actually many of my favorites are fellow TpT sellers who have blogs. I love reading what everyone is doing, the great ideas and opinions!

The Teaching Bank ~ Michelle Heisler

The Teaching Bank's Teachers Pay Teacher Store

The Teaching Bank's Favorite Items

The first unit that I created as a teacher was for the Charlotte's Web book.My favorite area for writing curriculum is novel units. I would have to say Charlotte's Web is my favorite because that is where it all started!

The other item that is a personal favorite is my Alien Text Talk Activity. I had great success in the classroom using Daily Oral Language methods and I was able to translate those skill activities to a method that is current and fun for the students where they can legitimately use their texting knowledge.

Monday, September 12, 2011

For Teacher Authors: "To Blog or Not to Blog?" That is the Question!

Four months ago, I didn’t know a blog from a Sqworl, and now I have both! Consequently, my Teachers Pay Teachers sales have gone up 238% compared to last summer! Unconvinced? Look at these numbers! Pam’s Vintage Teacher blog had 2,100 page views in 5 hours when she posted her popular feature, Five Friday Freebies.

My blog, The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers, showcases free products from TpT sellers who have posted their products in the Sellers' Forum thread I originated, “Freebie Promotion = FREE ADVERTISING!” Rather than have one seller give permission to another seller to promote a particular free product, this thread allows sellers to give permission to all present AND future sellers to use their free products in just cannot sell the items for profit. If you want to suddenly increase the number of page views on your blog by giving away free products, go to the Blog Archive on the right hand column of “The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers” and click on a free product that looks interesting. You will see the full product description of the product and you can easily decide if it would be a good choice to entice potential buyers to your blog. You can then cut and paste the title, seller’s name, and link to the product. At the bottom of each post, I cite the thread in the Seller’s Forum and the date when the seller-author gave permission for all teacher-authors on the Seller’s Forum to use their free product. I also have an index of the free products listed by subject. Thus, if you use “The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers” as a resource of free products, you can quickly and easily increase the number of page views for your blog.

If you would like your free product or all of your free products in your TpT store to be seen by thousands of potential buyers, post your links in “Freebie Promotion = FREE ADVERTISING!” Be sure to give permission to all sellers on the Sellers' Forum that they can use your free product or all of the free products in your TpT store in their freebie promotion.

Denise Boehm has tripled her TpT earnings since creating her blog, Sunny Days in Second Grade. She credits Charity Preston’s TpT product, “Teaching Blog Traffic School” for helping her blog followers grow from 200 followers to 750 followers in two months. Denise is now averaging 2,500 page views per day. Charity’s “Teaching Blog Traffic School” is like a gold mine of ideas. Her 30 videos teach you what to do and, more importantly, what not to do when creating a blog: how to earn extra money, in addition to your TpT products; how to save time, so that you can actually have time to be with your family and friends; and etiquette, so that you won’t lose followers. In short, it is “required reading” for anyone who is serious about creating and/or managing a blog. An added bonus of purchasing “Teaching Blog Traffic School” is that you will be able to join a special TBTS group on Facebook. This cohesive group of sellers work together to show the true power of cross promotion. Charity Preston is offering 10% off “The Teaching Blog Traffic School” from 9/12/11 - 9/15/11.

If you are still undecided “to blog or not to blog,” you may want to download my TpT free product, “How to Increase Your TeachersPayTeachers Ratings, Page Views, and $$!” Track the number of followers and page views you have on your blog, Facebook, and Twitter accounts using my Excel or iWork spreadsheets. Compare the data with your daily, weekly, quarterly, and yearly TpT earnings. You will have statistical evidence to conclude if all the time you have spent working on your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter has actually paid off in an increase in TpT earnings. This free product also explains how I received 17 TpT ratings and comments in 6 days. It includes a systematic marketing plan which you can use to increase your TpT earnings.

There are only so many hours in a day. Is it worth the time to create a blog and then manage it after a long day at school? You can probably answer that question if you can reflect on why you spend so much time creating products for Teachers Pay Teachers. For me, I just wanted to give my two children supplemental income which they can draw on for the rest of their lives. While at the same time, I really do believe that TpT teacher-authors can become millionaires. TpT has enabled teachers throughout the world to use my lessons. Moreover, the free products I post on The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers blog are used in France, Canada, Australia, and Russia. Teachers Pay Teachers has made a difference in many teachers’ lives, but it has also had an amazing impact on our students’ lives as well. The time we spend on cross-promotion is a win-win situation for all. Teacher-authors will be able to promote their products, new and veteran teachers will have access to inexpensive classroom-tested lessons, and our students will learn concepts in new and exciting ways. I hope this article helps you to decide whether “to blog or not to blog...”

Wishing you the best in the new school year,

Vicky Leon
Visit Vicky's Teachers Pay Teachers store

Related Products from Teachers Pay Teachers:
Blogging for Teachers, FREE
Teaching Blog Traffic School Lesson 1, FREE
Classroom Blogging Guide, $9.99

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Featured Teacher Author: Michele Luck

Featured Teacher-Author

1.   How long have you been on Teachers Pay Teachers?  What made you decide to be a part of it?
I stumbled onto Tpt back in 2008.  I can't even remember how I found it, but I have been a seller, and loving it, ever since!

2.   When did you know that you wanted to be in education?
I didn't acknowledge that I wanted to BE a teacher until I tried a few other things in adulthood and realized that all along, I was teaching.  In reality, I have been a teacher since about age 2.  I would line my dolls up around the room and play "school" for hours while they "HAD TO" listen!

3.   How are you currently involved in education?
I am currently teaching high school level World Civilizations and Geography.  I have taught all areas in the Social Studies Department from grades 6-12 and English grades 9-12.

4.   What would be your advice to people who are considering joining Teachers Pay Teachers?
Just do it!  If nothing else, it is a great opportunity to collaborate with other teachers that are excited about what they do.

5.   What has been a highlight, thus far, about being on Teachers Pay Teachers?
The highlight has to be talking with the other teachers in the forum and on the blogs.  The great ideas and inspirational stories keep me excited about what we do!

6.   What is something fun about you that other teachers don’t know?
I LOVE to dance!  If you ever drive by the house while my shades are up, you will find me leaping and strutting across the living room to my good ole 80s music!

7.   Do you participate in education outside of the classroom?  In what type of role?
I am everywhere I can be that involves either Social Studies or Education.  I attend and present at conferences on a variety of topics, I participate on online forums and trainings whenever they are available, and I have worked with my local universities to motivate and encourage student and new teachers.  I have also written one book for new teachers, and I am working on another for the parents!

8.   What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I would love to work at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum AFTER they push me out of my high school classroom!  I just love the teaching experience every day, but I would also love the opportunity to teach people about the Holocaust and what can be done to teach the next generation to do better.

9.   What profession would you not like to do?
I am one that will try anything once, BUT... I am also a control freak, so anything involving jumping out of planes or off buildings would be out of the question.

10. Who is your favorite author?  Favorite educational author?  And why?
Reading is one of my favorite hobbies, but I do not really have a favorite author.  I jump around quite a bit in my reading from genre to genre, so I am always finding something new I love. 
My favorite educational author is Dr. Angene Wilson.  She is also my mentor and was my professor many years ago.  She writes for the Peace Corp (and other education magazines), and her articles always remind me why I am here and why I step into my classroom each day.

By Michele Luck
Michele's Favorite Products
My most enjoyable classes are the ones where my students are "traveling" around my room and investigating different places or times.  In the Renaissance Tour of Florence Activity, they get to explore the city as it is becoming the Renaissance center.  I love it!

Renaissance Walking Tour Activity

In my U.S. History classes, I have always loved it when my students take on the roles of average people from the past.  In my Immigration activity, they read from role cards and stand in front of great images of the times.  It is always very engaging in my classroom.

Immigration and New Immigrant Activity

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