Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Love A Rainy Summer Day

Sometimes I love a good rainy summer day. I do indoor projects for home or work without feeling guilty that I'm not enjoying the sunshine! Jack thought for a minute about getting up, and then thought better of it... he loves rainy days, too :P All the dogs are quiet, actually. Yes, we now live with THREE big dogs between us.

Thankfully, the roomie and I did an impromptu trip to the beach and to visit some friends yesterday, so we took full advantage of the gorgeous day, and I don't feel guilty at all about staying inside!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Music in the Classroom

Headphones Icon by GDJ

I love listening to music in my high school classroom when we're doing independent work, writing, working on homework, or pretty much any time when their attention does not need to be wrapped up in someone speaking. Many times they'll ask me if they can listen to their own music (with headphones) when they're doing independent or small partner work, and most of the time, I say yes. They're more motivated, focused, and quite frankly, a lot less talkative!! The only problem I run into is when a student keeps clicking on his phone and says he's "looking for a new song." Even if he is, it can be really distracting, so I tell them that they need to put on a playlist and stick to it--if the phone looks too distracting they have to put it away.

The first day of first grade summer school I didn't have on any music and it was a BIG.MISTAKE. I needed it for my mood and sanity. Starting Day 2 when the kids came in I had a Jack Johnson Children's playlist from Pandora playing in the background, and it was on the entire day unless we were reading, or using a SmartBoard game that had sound. It was glorious.

Do you use music in your classroom? What are your rules for student music?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Fixing Small Spaces for Big Results

I am notorious for letting clutter pile up, one day getting incredibly sick of it, and completely organizing whatever is a mess. Today was one of those days where all of the small nagging spots got me!

On my front steps I had this ugly welcome mat, rain boots full of dirt and cobwebs, and doggy poop bags that hadn't made it to the trash yet. (By the way, the bags on my porch is what sparked my whole organization project! Couldn't stand having them out anymore!).
This is before. Ew.

This is after. The little trash can is for the poop bags ;)

It's amazing how a small change entering the house can make you feel. I've always read about how your environment and external spaces are internal reflections, or at the very least, the clutter and mess limits productivity. I feel better already. My plant still looks terrible, though :\. It died while I was visiting family in NJ. I'm hoping if I keep watering it that it will spring back to life!

Next project was fixing the bottom of this curtain to be pulled taut in the window. Jack pulled it off so he could gaze outside, and I never fixed it. It was a huge pain in the butt flapping in the wind and getting stuck in the door every time I opened it!

The "junk/tool/random" drawer in the kitchen was next. I've organized it once before, but I really needed some space dividers and holders to really keep things in place and not slide around. 
Before dividers:


I also figured out the "mystery keys" left by the previous owners. Minus the two with ? marks... no idea what those go to...

Lastly (for now, taking a quick break!) I invested in a sponge holder for the sink, and instead of getting more Scrub Daddys(ies?) I got a Sponge Daddy :P 

What have you done to organize or spruce up your space this summer?

Saturday, August 1, 2015

More Revamp Designs!

I revamped another of my covers to my most popular product, my Sandra Cisneros and Mango Street Introduction.

It went from: 

Another popular product, Prefixes, Roots, and Suffixes PowerPoint also got a makeover. 

From this:
 To this:
My Introduction to the Puritans PowerPoint for American Literature is pretty popular, but the cover left something to be desired. 

Old cover:

New, spicy cover (the Puritans wouldn't like it, but I do):

My last edit is a product that I believe is one of the best teaching tools I have, but has not gained a lot of traction, probably due to its old, unappealing cover. This product is all about how to help students discover and write a thematic statement for a story through understanding character development. I'll write a lengthier post on this in the future, but this guide is the best way I've discovered to help them understand theme. 
Old, yucky cover:

New cover:

I'm so glad I've been taking the time to watch the great videos and read awesome posts by other TpT sellers on how to really create awesome looking products and covers. Can't wait for the sale on the 3rd and 4th to buy more graphic designs!! I think my store looks better already :D