Monday, December 15, 2014

Free Festive Fonts for Font Fanatics Like Me!

Hello friends!  I'm sure you are all getting ready for Christmas Break and can't wait for a little family time with your "own" kids!
You might have some Christmas projects you'll finally have time to make, like invitations, cards, and gifts.  I've found the perfect Festive Fonts to take you from now until the New Year!  The fonts are shown in the picture below and the links are also given.

Have fun with the fonts brought to you from Creative Playground!

Until Next Time,

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Top 3 Ways to Raise Facebook Engagement!

Ah!  You're Here!
Thanks to those visiting from my collaborative blog The Primary Pack!  And if you're just visiting to visit, a big hello to you too!
Ok, where were we?  Ah, yes!  

The Top 3 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Engagement

Tip Number 3 to increasing your Facebook engagement relates to taking pictures.  I mentioned that it's critical to include an image in each Facebook post that you make.  But what kind of pictures do you include?

Here are four characteristic of an A+ Image to include on your Facebook post!  Take a look at this photo I found on Pinterest:

The four characteristics you see above are the exact reasons this photo caught my eye.  It worked and drew me to this wonderful site! 
First of all, it's ORGANIZED.  The pictures aren't willy-nilly, all over the place.  The author chose to arrange them in an organized collage.  
Secondly, the photos are UNIQUE.  Personally, I think this arrangement of photos are unique because of the arrangement for one.  I like the collage lay out.  Next, I love all the bright colors and not one photo overpowers the others with their content.  
Make your Facebook photos and images unique and try to include ones that are not all over Facebook already!
The next characteristic of an A+ Image is RELEVANT.  I am a teacher as you know.  Each picture in the collage relate to me because they're all photos of a classroom.  Make your Facebook photos match what your talking about in your post!  
And lastly, REALISTIC  is the next thing you must make your Facebook images, especially if you're posting a "How-to" article.  I could make almost all of the things in the photos above.  I would bet that most teachers would relate to this picture and could make the majority of things shown.  Your Facebook photos must be realistic and not something impossible for your viewers.

So this photo caught my eye for all those reasons listed above.  I went even further and found this blog, Fancy Frugal Life.  And this is what I found.  
Check out these photos:

Isn't this reading room beautiful?  I was in awe of the photo when I saw it, but then I realized where this room is!  It's actually a spot under a set of stairs in this woman's home!  That makes this reading room rock even more, in my opinion.  If I was a child, I would love to have a room like this!
Each of these photos follow the A+ Image Characteristics above!  They are relevant, realistic, organized, and unique.  Perfect images to make my point.  Try to include photos that will draw in your readers just like I did with these.

OK, now for the Number 2 way to increase your Facebook engagement!  You have to literally ask people to come to your Facebook page or blog site.
I know it might sound corny, but yes, you really do have to ask people to like you.  It doesn't have to be in the words, "Please Like Me!" but something that gives the reader a directive after reading your post.  If you want the person to click the like button, put that in your directive.  If you want them to share your post, mention that in your directive.  Tell the reader what you want them do to increase your engagement!

And now the Number 1 Way to Increase Your Facebook Engagement...

Drum roll please....

Number 1:  CTA

First I want to draw your attention to the left side of the image.  The letters CTA stand for Call to Action, which means you have to give your reader a direction of what to do with your site.  How do you want them to engage with your Facebook page?  Like?  Share?  Go to Your Blog?  This relates perfectly with Number 2 above.  However, this tip includes ways to get the reader there.  People have actually done research on the best ways to get people to engage with your facebook page!  If you look on the right side of the notebook image, there are the reasons you might want people to visit your site.
For example, if you wanted to gain sales to your TpT Store, give your reader the link to your store in your Facebook post.  That CTA is a good way to gain sales.  If you want to Increase your Signups on Facebook, as listed above, give your readers the CTA of liking your page.  Actually tell them where the like button is on your facebook page.  I've even seen some Facebookers include an image of their Like button on their Facebook page, to get the reader to like their page.

If you are visiting me from my initial post at The Primary Pack, I want you to think of the CTA I used at the end of my post...  If you are here from that post, then my CTA worked!  I purposely gave you reasons to come here to my blog, kind of like a teaser.  I promised you I would give you the Top 3 Ways to Increase Your Facebook Engagement.  So my CTA of urging you to my site worked if you're here from the Primary Pack post and I might use that CTA again in the future.
So when posting on Facebook, first think of the type of CTA you want to use, or the purpose of your readers engaging with your post.  Then come up with a way to do that...a contest?  a interview?  a poll?  
Remember these three words CALL TO ACTION!  Every Facebook or blog post must have a CTA to increase your engagement.  It's a must!

Friends, I hope I shed a little light on this topic and you got some useful tips to increasing your engagement!  I know there are a lot more ways to increase engagement, especially CTA's.  
I would really love to hear your ways to getting people to your blog post or Facebook post!  How do you get your readers to come back?  What CTA's do you use?  Leave your comments below!

Until Later Friends,

Sunday, November 23, 2014

All I Want for... BLACK FRIDAY Linky + Giveaway!

I'm joining my best blogger friends over at The Primary Pack for another fun adventure! We are celebrating Black Friday in a fun way (and a little early). There is no word yet if there will be a Black Friday sale but regardless, we are sharing a few of our most wish-listed items in our carts and our stores. We are also a HUGE Black Friday Giveaway, check it out below, you don't want to miss it!

There are so many things on my wishlist but here are a few that I absolutely HAVE to have:

1.  December Math Bins by Kristen Smith ~ I LOVE her monthly Math Bins!  They are all so comprehensive and they push students to the line.  They are easy to differentiate, to both the low riders and high flyers.
2.  Writing Activities and More! by Jane Kim ~ I have never actually bought any of Jane's products, but I've had my eye on her and she seems to have some excellent products!  This one in particular, I love the way she's laid out the images and work on the pages and it just looks visually appealing.
3.  Martin Luther King Jr. images by Messare Clips ~ I love Black History ANYTHING and these images are right on!  They are drastically realistic and some of the best I've ever seen.  These are a must have for any of your MLK Jr. products you're going to make!
4.  Holidays Around the World-Kwanzaa ~ This product is from Tweets Resources and Bonnie Kathryn.  These ladies have seemed to take a Christmas topic and make it magical for the students.  And this Kwanzaa resource is no exception!
5.  And last but not least, from one of my favorite clip artists, Glitter Meets Glue, I just love her Dipped in Glitter Bows she just came out with.  These will dress up any product you might be making for Christmas or any holiday!

Here are a few products you gotta check out from my TpT Store that are my most wishlisted and best sellers:

1.  Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to Work We Go ~ These are one of my best sellers in my store!  They are classroom Attention Grabbers that you must have for your classroom management arsenal!  You really give these a try!
2.  Famous Folks of Black History ~ This is my number one seller in my store!  It is a product that gives you everything you need to celebrate Black History Month and more!  It is packed full of posters, interactive materials, and other goodies that you just need to see for yourself.
3.  Hand Signal Editable Posters ~ Do you see a trend here in my classroom management tools?  This is another goodie that you just need to use in your classroom.  The best thing about these posters is that they are editable to your own needs.  And trust me...hand signals WORK!
4.  Black History Mini-Foldable Books ~ This is a set of mini-books that feature Black History greats, perfect for quick projects and just enough information if you're pressed for time.  Definitely give these books a try in your primary classroom for Black History Month!
5.  Shaped to the Core ~ This is my number one math product by far!  It's packed with posters and no-prep printables to teach both 2d and 3d shapes to your kiddos.  Nothing but fun!

And now for some giveaway fun!

Drumroll please.... Check out this HUGE giveaway package you can win by entering below! There is a resource from almost everyone in The Primary Pack, perfect for all primary grades!! Good luck, friends and happy shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now It's Your Turn To Join The Fun! 

Just a few rules to follow and your on your way:

1. Download the images above!

2. Add your favorite sellers products in your TpT cart to the "My Black Friday Wishlist"

3. Add your own products to the "For Your Black Friday Wishlist"

4. Link up below to share your Black Friday Wishlists!

5. Don't forget to enter our fabulous giveaway above AND visit others linked up below!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Now That the Candy Buzzzzz is Gone, Let's Talk Turkey!

Hello friends!   As you can tell from the title of my post, I'm here to talk turkey, but first I have some pictures to share with you...

Halloween is my favorite holiday by far; can you tell?  Ladies and gents, I have over 20 different wigs in my Halloween arsenal!  No joke.  If I could wear a different wig everyday, I would for sure.  It's just SOOOOO fun.  Give it a try; you'll be addicted!

Another thing you might notice from the pictures above is that I adore Melonheadz, an illustrator from Teachers Pay Teachers.  I finally got a chance to meet her in Vegas this past Summer and she went above and beyond my expectations.  She's a very humble and quiet lady, that has a rags to riches story that'll make you cry.  So if you're a TpT'er, it CAN BE DONE!  Also, I recently asked her to make me as a Melonheadz clip.  This is what she sent me today.  I'm absolutely giddy to have her draw me.  What?  I'm a Melonheadz clip?  Get outta here.  No, really.  Look...I'll show you:

Look at my necklace!  She got it down to even the details of that!  If you look closely, it's a letter G for my son Garyn.  He is also Autistic and the necklace I'm wearing above has an Autism symbol of a puzzle piece on it and a silver heart.  OMWhat?  And I'm artsy-fartsy and love to draw, hence the markers and paper chain.  Melonheadz is my idol-4-life...

OK, now let's talk turkey!  Are your kids still spinning from their candy buzzes too?  It really didn't matter that it was on a Friday; today's what... Thursday?  They're still buzzin' from that darn candy!

So I was thinking of a craft for Thanksgiving that would be different (for me at least!) than what I usually do, which is BOR-ING!  I knew I wanted to come up with something that involved the family; there was something about that Melonheadz necklace that I kept thinking about over and over.  Isn't your family one of the most Thankful pieces of your life?  Unfortunately, it's not for a lot of our little ones.  But most of them do have someone they can call family.  

What's the fall-back-on-Thanksgiving-teacher-craft that we ALL have done, at least once?  Yup, I'm also guilty... Trace your hand.  Slap on a waddle and call it a turkey.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING kids!  Well, I'm going to top that this year, do the same craft, and add a twist!

Here, take a look.  It doesn't look like much until you know what it's made of:

OK, so here's the special part... The hands used to make the turkey are from each of the members in the student's family!  So Mom, Dad, Granny, the dog, whoever the student lives with makes a print of their hands in different colors and those make the feathers!  Awesome!  It is the old standby that finally has some meaning!  Here are the materials you'll need and parts to cut out:

The turkey above is of my family and there are only three of us.  Garyn wanted to do the dog, but the dog had other ideas of what he wanted to do.  Wouldn't that have been cute though to have dog prints for the turkey's feet?  Hee, Hee.  The poem you see above I wrote; I know, I know.  I'm a teacher, not a poet.  I can rhyme though!  At the end of the post, I'll give you a link to the poem should you not be able to come up with a better saying or poem to attach to your turkey (yeah, right.  Don't worry, my feelings won't be hurt.  Just make sure you send it to me to use too for next year?  Deal?)

I also typed up this family letter to send home...

This letter is also included in the poem download, should you want to use it.  There are both pros and cons to sending home the paper.  Depending on your kiddos ages, they might not be ready to cut out five family member hand prints when they can barely hold the darn scissors.  You'll be doing prep work the day of the craft, so why not do it all ahead of time?  So I decided I'm going to precut different colors and send those home.  Or you could send home plain white paper and have families do their tracings and send those in.  It would just be easier to do it the first way for me.  If you have a different idea, shoot it my way with your poem too!  I'm ALWAYS open to suggestions of how to make my life easier!

Once the prints come in, we'll assemble the turkeys.  Here's a breakdown of the basic shapes needed:
I made the shapes basic because I plan to knock two birds out with this one...  Kids, today let's learn about turkey waddles AND heart shapes!  Yes!  Love to make my life easy!  So that's the theory behind the basic shape madness you see above.  Believe me, I draw clip art so my hand wants to jazz up that turkey like she's from Vegas, but my head says I'm ____ years old, not 7 or 8.  And I already know my shapes.

I haven't really gotten far enough to get to the presentation of this project yet, but I just know that as a Mom myself, I'd love to get a project like this that has such meaning to my entire family.  I hope you feel the same and can use a project like this with your kiddos this year or even with your own family at home!

I'd love to hear how you'd present this project...  Glue them both onto a larger sheet of construction paper?  Roll the turkey up in the poem and tie it with a holiday ribbon?  Please share your ideas in the comments below for us all!

Until later my friends,

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Let's Get This Party Started! (or Keep it Going?)

What's up blogging land?  
So glad you came to visit today as we're keeping this October Fun Party rollin'!

Here's one of the cuties you'll receive up close!

I also uploaded a new Halloween product today, Interactive Haunted House!  It's a color and black and white picture of a haunted house.  Then I've added to the packet 10 pages of interactive flaps that you can add to the house.  This would be a fun project for a Halloween Party for sure.  You can view this product here!

Once again, thanks for visiting and until tomorrow!  Make sure to stop by to see what clip art goodness I have for you next...

All My Best,

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October Fun Continues...Free Halloween Glitter!

Let's continue with this October Fun!  I'm joining up with Mel from Graphics from the Pond and her October Fun linky party for the entire month!  What?  
 Yes, you heard me right!  There are a bunch of TpT clip artists (including me!) that are offering fun clips for the entire month of October.  I'm so happy to be participating in this because October is my birthday month and Halloween ROCKS!  It's always been my favorite holiday, so here's your exclusive freebie set, complete with glitter, from Creative Playground!

Just click on the picture above to access this clip art set! 
Here's one of the stylin' Draculas up close...

I really hope you've enjoyed the exclusive clips I've provided these past three days;)  If you download, I'd LOVE to hear from you, as I have no way of knowing how many people are downloading the exclusive clips.  So if you wouldn't mind, just leaving me some love below; heck, it could just be a "Hi" or your name and I'd be happy!

Have a wonderful day my friends,

Monday, October 6, 2014

What's Your Teacher Superpower? Mine May Be a Surprise to You...

I know as an educator you've seen this meme around on shirts and posters.  You may even have one hanging in your classroom...

Believe me, I hear ya and I'm shouting that phrase from the mountain tops as a teacher myself!  But today, I want to show you the poster I have hanging in my office at home, which to me is more important than the one above:

 I decided to have my Garyn at a later age in life...I wanted to be financially set and have my career running strong.  So I had all those things and along he came.  He came to me 2 months early, weighing only 4 lbs and could fit inside one of my hands.  He appeared to be healthy, but I knew as a Special Educator that he may have cognitive and physical delays in his development.  But that was OK with me, because he was my Angel sent from above.

When he got to Preschool, he began to have problems.  I knew he was very, very smart, but I also had that Mommy intuition that something just wasn't right with my little man.  When I heard he had hit his teacher when she was trying to get him from under the sand table, I knew my intuition was correct.  I took him to the doctor looking for answers.  I left with a referral to an Autism Specialist at a hospital two hours away.  
My heart was broken and I've never, ever felt so helpless in my life.  Not only was I a Special Educator at work, but now I'd be one at home too.  I cried, and cried, and cried.  My son Garyn had Autism and as his Mommy there was nothing I could do to fix it.

Well, I'm here with you three years later and guess what?  As Pete the Cat would say, "Everything is good!"  My son Garyn is now 7-years-old, and has Asperger's Syndrome.  He's an Aspie (someone with Asperger's) which is a form of Autism.  Autism is a developmental condition that is on a spectrum, with Aspergers being on the far right.  He has a full-scale IQ that is near genius; I knew he was very smart.  But his social IQ is that of someone with a Cognitive Impairment.  So, basically he's a genius with a mental impairment.  Crazy, I know.  Right?

As a teacher you may have a student(s) in your classroom with Autism; you may even have some unidentified Aspies in your classroom right now!  These are the kids that are super book smart, but can't make a friend and may be a social outcast in your room because their "weird".  They may appear to have ADHD, with the attention span of the Road Runner...Beep, Beep!  They finish their work and they're off runnin'.

Well, as a Mommy to the best Aspie in the world AND a teacher, I bring to you today some tips and tricks as how to handle and work with students with Asperger's Syndrome.  Hopefully, I can shed some light on the topic and make your days a little brighter!

So here we go... Let's learn about teaching your Aspie.

1)  Students with Aspergers will have sensory issues.  This means that all their senses will be affected throughout the day in some way or another.  Some Aspies have senses that are HYPERACTIVE like my son's, or they may be UNDER ACTIVE also.  In my son's case, each and everyone of his senses are in overdrive 24/7.  For example, at school, he can't eat in the lunchroom because the smell of all the food will make him crazy.  It will literally hurt is brain (his words).  So in your classroom, it's best not to have any air fresheners.  I know, I love them too!  You also should dim your lights (affects their sight) and not have any background music playing (affects their hearing).

2)  Aspies appear to have ADHD; just like "normal" students they need frequent brain breaks during the school day.  But they will need them more often~as much as one break in between each lesson.

3)  Please don't punish your Aspie for their behavior.  It's really not their fault for how they act.  It's their brains fault.  Trust me, if they could redo the calling out and rude comments that magically come out of their mouths, they would.

4)  Don't put your Aspie in a Time-Out.  A Time-Out is related to negative behaviors.  Instead, put them in a Take-a-Break area.  Have a special place for them to go in your room that is away from everyone else, it may be darker, behind a partition maybe.  But they need somewhere to go when their senses start to go into overdrive.  That's when their undesirable behaviors start to occur, which no one wants to happen.  Even them.

5)  Have a Caring Classroom, Fill-Your-Bucket, Brag Tag, SOMETHING in your classroom that is set up to assist your Aspie.  They need to feel like their environment is a safe place, one free from bully taunts and teases.  They WILL be teased so try to have a place where it's least likely for that to happen.

6)  Those with Asperger's Syndrome CANNOT read facial expressions!  You know that mean Teacher-Look that you have?  Forget it.  Look at your Aspie like that and they might even laugh back at you!  They don't understand facial expressions; they won't know if your mad, sad, happy, or disappointed with them by your face.  So you'll have to use visual and verbal cues instead.  For example, with my son, his teacher and myself use a thumbs-up, or one or two finger system with him.  If we put up one finger, he's not talking on topic.  If we put up two fingers, he's still off-topic and needs to just stop talking.  Period.  So have some system in place for them that's not some facial expression.

7)  If at possible, allow them to leave the classroom if they need to.  My son has a full-time aide at school.  When he feels like his senses are about to escalate, him and his aide go for a quick walk around the campus.  He needs to be out of the situation to get himself together.

8)  Have a system in place that you will be in constant contact with their parents.  A daily note, phone call, email...whatever.  Just make sure to let the parents know if they had a bad day especially because they may still be in a bad mood when they get home.  Prepare the parents for this by letting them know ahead of time.

And lastly...

PLEASE, even though my son drives you crazy, LOVE him like I would.  I'm not at his school to be with him, but YOU are.  I'm trusting you that you'll give him the love he needs to make it through the day and be as successful as he can.

I've put together the tips and tricks from above into two handouts for you!

I know this was a long post and I thank you for making it all the way through it!  If you ever have any questions or would like to talk to me about your Aspie, please feel free to contact me.  My email is listed on the handouts above.

Have a wonderful day my new friends and until later...Teach on!


Sunday, October 5, 2014

October Fun Continues! More Free Clip Art...

Happy Sunday to you all!  Let's keep the fun rolling with Mel's (Graphics from the Pond) October Fun!

Here's what I have for you today!  A matching Ms. Dracula to the Mr. Dracula I gave you yesterday.  I really hope you like her;)

Make sure to visit tomorrow to see what goodies I have for you...  I'd love to hear what clip art images you  might like me to make for some freebies!  Leave your requests in the comments below and I'll see what I can do!

Until tomorrow,

Saturday, October 4, 2014

October Fun! Clip Art Freebie

Hello friends!  I'm so excited that it's October...It's so fun to celebrate Halloween AND it's my birthday month!  

I'm joining in with Mel from Graphics from the Pond for what she's called October Fun!  A group of clip artists have joined together to share with you FUN for the entire month of October!  Which is awesome because 1)  It's my favorite month and 2) It's my birthday month (ok, I know I already said that, but I just love October!)  So anyhoo, for October Fun, us clip artists will be sharing with you FREE clip art from out TpT Stores, Facebook, and right here on our blogs.  How awesome is that?  I told you...October Rocks!

So let get this partay started right!  Here's my October Fun Freebie for you today friends!

I even jazzed it up with glitter.  What!  I know, right?  That's awesome.  I told you October Rocked!  Just click on the image above and grab your Dracula images and make sure to check back tomorrow for more October Fun goodness!

Peace out until tomorrow friends,

Thursday, October 2, 2014

October Treat (Not a Trick!)

Hello all!  It's time for Farley's October Currently!  And here's what's on my mind right now...

Listening~  I'm a HUGE music favorite is honestly rap music, especially old-time rap music.  Right now, I'm listening to a song from Eminem, whom I just adore!  Pandora, if you're not aware, is a music feed through your computer that you can choose your favorite music, songs, genre, and it will play them all for as long as you're logged into the site.  Best thing since white bread, for sure!

Loving~  Please, please, please come visit my new collaborative blog, The Primary Pack, which is made from ideas from over 30 bloggers!  We just launched our new blog yesterday, and are having a huge giveaway as we speak!  So head on over to the Primary Pack, meet all the bloggers, get some awesome freebies, and enter to win some gifts totaling over $300!

Thinking~  You guys (and gals) my birthday is on October 30.  I have absolutely LOVED my birthday ever since I was born.  I love to dress up and wear outrageous wigs.  I secretly think that's one reason why I became a teacher...I could have an excuse to dress up for Halloween as an adult!  But this year my b-day is bittersweet.  I will be 39 years old, and that officially makes me old.  I don't feel old, don't think I look old, but I AM OLD.  And that's bringing me down this year.

Wanting~  Hunington Bank...hurry up and direct deposit my pay check.  Momma has some bills to pay, like right now!

Needing~  My son is really into the cartoon Adventure Time right now and has been wanting to be Finn from the show, like forever!  I have to get the costume (as soon as Hunington Bank gets on the ball) so he'll stop reminding me about it.  I'm going to be Princess Bubblegum from the show!  According to my son, I can't be Princess Bubblegum.  I look more like Marceline, according to him.  She's the vampire rocker that floats around with a guitar.  So, I think he's telling me I'm not Princess material.  OMGosh, see I told you my birthday is making me look old!

And finally, I have a treat!  For the launch of the Primary Pack, I'm giving away a huge clip art set that is yours for free!  Head on over to my TpT store and grab it while you can my friends.  

And happy October to you all!

Introducing the Primary Pack!

I am so excited and blessed to have the opportunity to work behind the scenes with the fabulous bloggers of The Primary Pack!  We are collaborating to bring you a rainbow of ideas!  Make sure you follow along to grab a bunch of colorful freebies, as well as enter our giveaway with $300 worth of prizes!
Hello friends!  My name is Cara Taylor and I'm blogging from Creative Playground.  I'm so, so happy to be part of a new collaborative blog, The Primary Pack!  Just a little about me...

I love many things, but these are a few that make me REALLY happy!
I had a blast this past summer in Las Vegas at the first annual TpT Sellers Conference.  The highlight of my trip was getting to see my honey Johnny...

My family is very dear to my heart.  The number one person being my son Garyn!  He is seven years old now and I just love taking pictures of him.  I have a gazillion pictures of him, but here's just one of us at our local Butterfly Garden.

I adore my job as a teacher and have been an educator for the past 17 years!  Most of those years have been in upper elementary, in grades 3, 4, and 5.  I love to take funny pictures with my students also.

My birthday just happens to fall on the day before Halloween, so that gives me an excuse to dress up for Halloween at school.  I've been everything from a pumpkin and Little Red Riding Hood, to a ghost bride!

So there's a little (or a lot!) about me and there are 30 of us educators here at the Primary Pack.  I urge you to check out all of us with the button below, where you can meet everyone and learn more about us.  One of the best thing about introducing our new blog, is that the Primary Pack is hosting a giveaway with tons of fabulous prizes!

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have an awesome freebie for you!  I created these Crayon Cuties as a way to celebrate our new collaborative blog, The Primary Pack.  Just click on the image below to get your set of free clip art images!

 Hop along to meet our other bright bloggers and to grab a rainbow of freebies!
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