Motivation Monday… Ehhh – Wait… It’s Tuesday!

I’m not going to let my “summer brain” stop me from being highly-motivated this week! “New Teacher” orientation kicks off tomorrow and I couldn’t be more excited! I was in Office Max this morning (having some MORE classroom decor printed and laminated) and I noticed they are currently having a huge sale on printing and laminating (specifically custom posters)! Wooo hooo! I figured I that should take advantage of this and started looking for a few motivational posters that I might like to add to my classroom…. and, of course, posters that tie in seamlessly with my “Travel Themed Classroom”! 🙂

After hours of searching, I found some things that I loved and I thought it might be helpful to share them in one place (aka this blog post):

be a somebody.

1. “Be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody.” – Kid President – I loved this because it’s so true and applies to children, adolescents, teenagers and adults alike! I know that fuzzy feeling I get when someone goes out of their way to make me feel special and/or important and it’s important that we all make an effort to pass that feeling on! I think this will be a good reminder for my students! This was just a Pinterest Pin that I found but I think I’ll create my own poster that sports this quote in PowerPoint (Yes, I am a PowerPoint junkie)!

I'm putting this up in my classroom!

2. “In this classroom we DON’T do EASY. We make EASY happen through HARD WORK and LEARNING!” This is another motivational poster I found on Pinterest. I love this because sometimes I even find MYSELF looking for the EASY way to do something! This year I want to instill a STRONG work ethic in all of my students so that each of them feels the best that they can when they see themselves succeeding!

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3. Motivational Posters Bundle: I found this bundle of motivational posters on Teachers Pay Teachers! I don’t know if I will necessarily purchase it for my room (doesn’t really jive with my theme) but I wanted to share it with others! With a price tag of only $1, this is STEAL and a time-saver! Download, print, laminate (optional) and POST! It’s all done for you!

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4. Motivational Bunting – Something New: Some of you might have read or discovered that I’ve been on a “bunting” kick this summer and I just can’t stop! I am going to have so many buntings designed and created by the time school starts that I am not going to have a clue as what to do with them! You can check out the first bunting I created this summer here: Reading Takes You Places Bunting. Again, since this is “Motivation Tuesday”, I decided to create a new type of bunting: Classroom Buntings that Motivate! You can check this out here: Motivational “INSPIRE” Vintage Bunting. Again, this is a digital file that you can simply download, print, cut/laminate, attach to a ribbon/string and immediately hang in your classroom! It doesn’t get much easier than that! Here are a few more pics of my latest creation 🙂 I think it’s going to fit just perfect in my new classroom!

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My Latest Modge Podge Project: Filing Cabinets Decaupaged with Book Pages

When I walked into my classroom for the first time this year, the first thing I laid my eyes on were the FIVE mismatched (in color and in height) filing cabinets standing against the largest wall in the classroom. I instantly thought, “There is no way that I am going to be able to mask those “army green” and “royal blue” eyesores – let alone transform them into something that acts as a focal point for my, now infamous, “Travel Themed Classroom”! The depression and discouraging thoughts hit hard… This is what I was dealing with…

Old, Dingy Filing Cabinets Read more

Just in Case You Were UNAWARE…

4ActivityBundleBTSSALEIt’s not my style to use this blog to PROMOTE, PROMOTE, PROMOTE my educational products… but I thought some of you might want to know about this….

My best-selling “Back to School” Activity bundle is now 28% OFF the already-reduced price! Yes, you can now grab 4 extremely unique and engaging activities for LESS than 5 bucks! Remember, this bundle includes the following activities, which I am selling the “beejeeeeguz” out of in my TPT store:

1. 33 Back to School TASK CARDS – “Instagram Style” Activity – Middle and Secondary
2. Back to School: 36 Task Card Set “I MUSTACHE YOU A QUESTION” – FUN
3. Back to School ICEBREAKER Activity: “Can you follow directions?” FUN Grades 6-12
4. Back to School Activity: Introduce Yourself with Instagram- No-Prep Printable

Hope you found this useful! I will be posting the progress of my “travel classroom” antics within the next day or two! Stay tuned!

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Crafter’s Corner: Vintage and Travel Themed CCSS Standard Posters + “I Can..” Statements

Good morning guys! Seeing that it’s “summer vacation”, I should be able to say I’m overly rested and itching to tackle my “to do” list – but…. I stayed up WAYYY past my bed time “crafting”! No, I wasn’t decoupaging letters or creating another travel themed bunting – I was actually “digitally crafting”!

Last year, I wrote the appropriate CCSS standard we were covering on the board every day. While it didn’t seem TOO time consuming, I was also rushing to get it done before the morning bell would ring! I’ve seen different teachers blog about “CCSS standards posters” and wanted to see what it was all about!

After a few hours of extensive research, I set out to create my own 9th-10th grade CCSS ELA Posters! But I didn’t stop there…. I was on such a “roll” that I thought to myself, “Why not create some handy “I can…” posters to go with the standard posters? They would really make our learning objectives more clear to my students!” Sooooo… I made those at the same time as well! Of course, I followed my “Travel Themed Classroom” look and set the standards and “I can…” statements on an old vintage “tag”! I thought it looked great without being too “busy” or obnoxious! What do you think?

Travel Themed CCSS Posters CCSS Posters 9th-10th Grade thumb3 thumb4

Does anyone else use standards posters in their classrooms? I’ve got them all printed out and I’m taking them to be laminated right after I finish this post! Wooo hooo!

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Tired of Teaching “Elements of Plot”? A New, Fun Approach!

Are you tired of beginning each school year with the same ol’ “Elements of Plot” lesson? The initial vocabulary and concepts related to “Plot” can be kind of “dry” and “boring”, especially if you’re a student in grades 7th-10th! You know what I’m talking about because we’ve all been there 😉

I took some time (well, quite a bit of time!) designing a new way to introduce the “elements of plot” to my ninth grade English students! Instead of using the original “Plot Mountain” (pictured below) – I decided to take my students on “Plot Roller Coaster Ride”! Sounds fun – right? Obviously, I thought so! With that being said, I took the liberty to create a comprehensive, lesson bundle covering “The Elements of Plot” in alignment with CCSS standards!

Typical Plot MountainTypical Plot Mountain

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Plot Roller Coaster Ride

New Plot Roller Coaster

Download FREE Plot Roller Coaster PDF

Inspired by the graphic organizer shown above, I went on to create a PREZI presentation, student note-taking packet and two intertactive activities to use this year as I teach this standard (RL 7-10.3). I’ve included a few thumbnails of these resources below but you can view a full product preview here:

Elements of Plot Bundle – PREZI, Student Note Packet, Activities, Task Cards

Elements of Plot Lesson Plans Elements of Plot Lesson Plans Elements of Plot Lesson Plans Elements of Plot Lesson Plans Elements of Plot Lesson Plans

As you can see, I’ve incorporated “Plot” Task cards into one of the activities in this bundle! I am really excited to use these because I think the students are going to love them! Each “Plot” task card includes a short description the setting, protagonist and antagonist of potential plot structure. There are a variety of ways to use them in the classroom, but students use the Plot Roller Coaster graphic organizer to create their own plot line from the information found on the “Plot” task cards! I’ve included an example of one below 🙂

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 4.34.44 PMIf you’re one of those teachers that has taught the same “elements of plot” lesson over and over (just like me!), maybe it’s time you step out on a limb and change it up for the new school year!

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Pinning is Winning: 1 Pinterest Strategy That Has BOOSTED My Exposure!

When I opened my TPT store back in March of 2014, I spent a decent amount of time reading through all of the threads within the Seller’s Forum. Day after day I read posts from sellers “swearing” by Pinterest as a tool to increase sales! I just wasn’t buying it. “What are the chances of someone (EVEN JUST ONE PERSON) repinning a pin that I pinned to my humble Pinterest boards?” I knew that some of the individuals writing a few of these posts had a “MEGA Pinterest following” and the strategy made more sense in that case, but to sum it up, “SKEPTICAL” was the best word to describe my thoughts on the matter….

FAST FORWARD…. to 4 months later and here I am – watching my phone blow up with Pinterest notifications (which I don’t mind in the least)! I dedicated this last week to honing in on my “Pinterest skills” and I’ve learned more than I ever imagined.

Disclaimer: I am in no way a Pinterest all-star, in fact, I would still consider myself a rookie. But in celebration of my progress and in hopes of helping just one person increase their exposure on Pinterest, I thought it wise to write this post.

The moral of the story: Don’t JUST Pin Product Covers!

From March to June, the only thing I had ever pinned was my own product covers. That’s right, I didn’t pin any pins that would float through my Pinterest feed. I didn’t pin any interesting resources from websites. I ONLY PINNED MY COVERS. That’s what you call a #PinterestFAIL!

I started to think about the purpose of pinning covers and why we do it. We want to drive potential buyers to our products, right? Well, sometimes buyers are going to need to be “caught” and “reeled in” with a larger HOOK! What I mean is this: I realized I needed to create “Pins” (related to the product I was trying to promote) that would catch buyers’ attention. Simple – right?

Then I came to my next dilemma…

How do I grab the attention of potential buyers? Well, you’ve got to convince them that your product is going to fulfill a NEED of theirs. Why do people NEED your product? Will it make their job easier? Will it increase student engagement? Will it save them valuable time? Once you’ve hooked them with a solution to their problem, they click on the link and are taken to the product – THE SOLUTION! From there, all of the hard work that you’ve poured into your product cover, product preview and thumbnails will do the selling for you!

As I am writing this, I’m thinking, “Readers probably just think I am on some “Pinterest Soapbox” and am blabbing for sake of blabbing….” But I will show you evidence that proves this strategy works!

Here is the PRODUCT cover of a new product that I just created and posted in my TPT store within the last week:

Slide1Using my old strategy, I pinned this cover to three different Pinterest boards (ONE being my board and TWO being COLLABORATIVE boards). If I add up all of the “repins”, I think there are a total of “8”. Yes, eight people saw this and considered it useful enough to pin. From the time that I pinned this cover until last Tuesday night (about 7 days), I sold TWO of these bundles from my TPT store.

My sales data looked like this:

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 2.21.31 PMI had sold another small product on the larger mountain 🙂 Now, what you are about to see is what happened to my sales after changing my pinning strategies. The first two mountains below are the same mountains seen above (for comparison).

Screen Shot 2014-07-25 at 2.21.52 PMBig difference in sales between the two strategies, eh? Again, these are VERY SMALL successes… Most would call these sales “chump change”… but it’s “chump change” that taught me a valuable lesson! Since Wednesday, a total of 2.5 days, I’ve sold SIX more of these bundles – with only doing one thing different!

So what did I do to cause this BOOST in sales and exposure?

I started creating additional pictures/collages to use as a “Pin” to promote this product. This is not a promotion of any kind, but I use this easy web-based photo editor called Pic Monkey to create my “Pin” images. Pic Monkey is a resource that I learned about in the Seller’s Forums! Again, it’s important that we look at it this way, “How does my product fulfill a need for someone?” If you can answer that question, then you are well on your way to pinning success! Above, you saw the product cover. Now I am going to show you the first image I created specifically for “Pinterest” marketing…

PinterestcollageSo this was attempt #1…. Looking back at it now, I still didn’t really convey the message of how this could be valuable to someone in need of back to school activities… With that being said, it still received triple the number of “repins” that my product cover received. 

So I thought, “That was okay, but I am going to try this again!”

pinterestBTSpromo1….and I came up with this! I guess I was feeling a little overwhelmed while lesson planning and, for me, humor is the best coping device! I guess a few others appreciated the humor because I quickly had about 50 pins! And it’s still being repeatedly pinned as we speak!

But I’m not one that just stops when I experience a small success, so I tried again….

4ActivityBundleWe all know that our beloved summer vacation is coming to an end and I was feeling anxious… so I channeled that anxiety into this “Pin”! I posted this late last night and I woke up to the always-welcomed “Cha-ching” alert this morning… TWO more bundles sold!

Well… that’s all of the “Pinterest Wisdom” I have to share today. I hope you found my “psuedo case study” the least bit valuable, and if not, maybe you gleaned a little entertainment from my proclivity to make Pinterest work for my TPT store!

Do you have any tips or tricks that would be valuable to others? I’d love it if you would share them in the comments below! I would also love to know which of the three images created specifically for Pinterest caught your eye the most? Just curious 🙂

Keep calm and PINTEREST on!

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Travel Themed Classrooom: My Favorite Classroom Bunting Yet!

Today I finished yet another “project” in hopes of one day fulfilling my “vision” of a Travel themed classroom (with an “older” look)! I created these bunting graphics using PowerPoint and clip art that I purchased online. You can download this file for FREE here: Reading Will Take You Places Bunting! Just tryin’ to share the wealth 😉

After printing and laminating the file, I simply bought some black ribbon (on sale) and a spool of “twine” and went to work! I used hot glue to attach the first two buntings to the black ribbon and then (as you can see) simply “clothes pinned” the third line of bunting to the twine! I can’t believe how well it turned out! I can’t wait to add this to my classroom wall and let it shine among my other “travel themed” classroom decor! Let me know what you think!

If you’re thinking about creating your own “Travel Themed” classroom, check out my related blog posts:

DIY Decoupage Storage Cabinets (Travel Style)

Hitting the “Travel Theme” Jackpot!

Decorative Wooden Letters!

You may also want to follow my newest Pinterest Board for even more inspiration!

Travel Themed Classroom Pinterest Board

 

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