Remembering Neil Armstrong…

Neil Armstrong is without a doubt one of America’s most well known heroes. Apparently though, some people were unaware that he passed away last August. The twitter and Facebook worlds were full of memorial posts for the passing of Armstrong today. Supposedly someone posted a video for the anniversary of Armstrong’s death (8/25/2012), but forgotten to mention that he had passed last year and not now.
Regardless of when he died, he is still and will always be remembered as the first man to step foot on the moon and utter the unforgettable phrase “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.
We’ve created a space mini-unit that has a little focus on Mr. Armstrong. It seems like you can find a lot of information on the man, but not many teaching resources. In our mini-unit you’ll find a bio page on Neil Armstrong as well as a short reading passage with questions. We’ve also included two posters with quotes from Armstrong – which you can actually grab for free today by clicking on the quote above.
The rest of the space mini-unit focuses on planets and moon phases. Stop by our store to check it out!


TpT Shopper Tips & Tricks

We’re here with a few tips to help make shopping on Teachers Pay Teachers a little easier for you!

One way to make sure you never miss out on a great new product or even free item is to follow your favorite stores. To follow a store simply click on the red star next to “follow me” – if you are following the store, it will say “following” instead.

When you follow store on TpT, two things will happen. First, you will receive emails when your favorite sellers add new items to their store – both free and paid. Second, when you are signed into your TpT account and are on the homepage, you will see an area with “Seller Updates”. Instead of seeing random store updates there, you will now see your favorite sellers!

Most teacher-authors on TpT use various sources of social media. We love Facebook, Pinterest, and blogging especially! Typically you will find a link to one form of social media in our storefront.
For instance, in our store, if you click on the orange “Creation Castle” words the link will take you here to our blog. Then on our blog we provide links to various sources of social media.

Have you ever stumbled upon a product that you think will work for your class perfectly but you aren’t sure it has everything you need? There is a great feature on TpT that allows you to ask a seller a question before you make a purchase.

If you’ve already purchased the item and have questions, you can still contact the teacher-author this way. Chances are they have also provided an email address to contact them at in their product as well.

This is probably the most important and helpful tip we can give you! Every time you leave feedback on a product you purchase, you earn one TpT credit for every dollar you spend. You can then trade your TpT credits in for money to put towards your future purchases! Every 100 points is equal to $5.00 – but you can use your credits anytime you want, you don’t have to save credits to save money.
Speaking for TpT teacher-authors, we also love to hear feedback on our free items. Try to remember how much time and effort these sellers put into each item in their store.
We just added this Classroom Posters Freebie to our store and have loved reading your comments!
Our final tip is just to help you more easily find products within stores. Every store will be a little different, but there are some similarities across the site.
Every store has the same four viewing options – Most Recent, Best Seller, Rating, and Price. Anytime you visit a store, it automatically shows the items in order with the best selling item listed first. That can be a great way to get to know a store you’re not familiar with, but if you’re a regular shopper you might not need our Veterans’ Day Resources in August… or April 😉
Some store choose to create custom categories to help you navigate their products a little easier. For instance we place all our custom orders in one area. That way if you are purchasing your custom order or thinking about having one made, you are one simple click away from those products.
You can also narrow products by grade level, subject, price, and resource type.
We hope you’ve found some of these tips and tricks helpful! Happy shopping 🙂

It’s Here!: Classroom Job System

We know we’ve been teasing you with information about this resource for days now. We definitely needed that pressure from you wanting to see the completed product to push us to finish it. The display pieces have been ready for weeks, but writing our teacher guide was a task we set aside because it wasn’t as fun to make!

The basics on our system… We’ve seen many teachers implement jobs in their classroom, but students were not getting anything out of them. They would do their jobs while dragging their feet or brag about being the messenger for the week. When we took a step back and really looked at the potential of classroom jobs we realized that these jobs should be about more than just getting tasks done.

Using jobs in your classroom gives you a chance to create a working community that values responsibility, teamwork, pride in work, understanding, and so much more! Our job system requires you approach students with their jobs by showing them the value and importance of each person’s role. In one word, our classroom job system is about community.

Our teacher’s guide is eleven pages long, but it is a quick read! We’ve included a little background information on why we believe in our system, how to introduce the system to your students, a few ideas such as using applications and performance reviews, and more! 
We have included over 30 jobs cards! There are two files included for the job cards, because while we adore our titles, you may have different titles in mind or already in place in your classroom.

One unique part of our job system is including a manual for students. This manual tells students the description and responsibilities of each job. We’ve also included an editable file in case your job duties do not match ours.

How is this system beneficial to the teacher?
By assigning every student a job, you are automatically making your day a little easier. After students understand each job and its duties, there will be twenty little things (like passing out papers or alphabetizing) that you will not have to worry about. This system also helps create bonds in your classroom that will lead to a strong community.

How is this system beneficial to the students?
With our system, every student has a job. This shows the students that they are all important parts of your classroom community. If they did not wipe down the desks, someone will end up with sticky fingers. If they did not take care of the books in the library, it would be difficult for anyone to find what they are looking for.
This system instills a sense of responsibility and importance in each student. Your students will feel more ownership towards the classroom and in turn with take pride in keeping a fun and clean environment.

 This resource is full of goodies and we already want to add more! A few things we plan on adding are…
*Letter to Parents
*Classroom Helpers Manual with Salary Included
*Classroom Helpers Manual Mini-Book
*Specific Performance Reviews (job description included, checklist with duties, fun graphic etc.)
*More choices in Classroom Applications and Warning Write-Ups
You may be thinking… If you’re adding that much why are you posting the resource now?

We love and appreciate all of you! It has been our goal to have a fully functioning system ready for you to buy BEFORE the back to school sale. We want you to save that 28% when purchasing this product. We can’t wait to hear your ideas and suggestions to add to this resource. Like any of our other resources, we will constantly be revising and updating this file.

So, yes this resource will be bigger and better soon, but it also is ready to use as is! By purchasing the Classroom Job System this weekend, you will be saving money during the sale, but it will also be at a lower price because we haven’t added in all those extras yet. Grab it now and download the updates in a few weeks for free!

Time Saving Tips Part 2

A few days ago, you might have read our post with some time saving tips to use with your students throughout the school day. We’re back again with tips specifically for the teacher. Hopefully these tips will help you spend a little less time in your classroom before and after school.

One of the easiest ways to keep track of things in your classroom is to set up a simple system ahead of time. Try color coding by the day of the week or subject area – this should make it easier to find things in your classroom.
Along the same lines of color coding in your classroom, designate a place for everything in your classroom. We’re not just talking about student materials. Have a set area to place papers that need to be graded, papers to be filed, materials for the Monday’s lessons, etc. After you have areas set up for everything, don’t just throw things down and forget where everything is supposed to go use them! Not only will your classroom look less disorganized, but you will know exactly where that rock sample is for Wednesday’s science lesson!
How often do you take home papers to grade? Do you quickly eat your lunch while checking yesterday’s word work? You do not need to grade every assignment. Notice we didn’t see you don’t need to look over the assignments. Definitely glance through your students’ practice papers and make sure Lisa understood that you must always subtract the smaller number from the bigger number. We’re simply suggesting not to sit with your red pen poised every time you look at a piece of student work. If you glance through the work and notice four kiddos that didn’t understand the concept, hold on to those papers and find a time to reteach that small group. Don’t waste thirty minutes drawing smiley faces on the other 18 papers!
We talked about preparing for substitutes earlier this summer. Make things much easier on yourself and prepare as much as you can for a substitute before you even need one. Have all the general materials ready – schedules, class list, emergency procedures, etc. It is also a good idea to have a set of plans for 2-3 days that can be used if you have an emergency and don’t have time to write up new plans. This will take some time at the beginning of the year, but once it is set up, you’ll save yourself hours later on down the road.
Teachers are busy – there is no question about that! Find a good calendar or planner – we suggest the lovely Erin Condren planners if you want to splurge! Find a system that works for you and jut down schedule changes, fire drills, meetings, conferences, etc. as you are informed of the changes. It is a lot easier to be flexible when you are keeping up with any changes to your normal routine.
Yesterday we asked you to let us know what items you had wish-listed from our store for a chance to win your item. Congratulations, Christy P., you’ve won our Magic School Bus: Note Taking Sheets & Activities! Be sure to check your email for your prize!
We were so happy to see your interest in our other products! We’ll be posting more about our classroom job system and maybe even giving away a copy! Be sure to stop by the blog tomorrow and read more about it.

Big Savings!

We are so excited to announce that we will be joining in on the huge site-wide Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale on August 18th-19th! This is such a great opportunity to grab any items on your wish list for an awesome price!

All of our products will be 20% off and if you use the TPT promo code: BTS13 you will get 28% off everything in our store!

Have you checked out our store recently? We’ve added some fantastic new resources this summer. Our biggest selling items this month have been all about behavior. We have over twenty themed behavior charts available and a set of editable behavior charts!


We had so much fun creating these colorful Special Days Calendar Cards! When you purchase calendar cards from a teacher store, you typically get a couple of holiday cards but they do not even begin to cover all the “special days” like book buddies, field trips, or early release days! Our Special Days include 168 cards and cover nearly every special day possible. As always with any of our products, if you would like us to add something additional to this pack we would be more than happy to accommodate to your needs.

If you missed our fabulous August Facebook Frenzy last weekend, then you missed out on grabbing this fun paper bag book activity for the beginning of the year. This is a great way to get to know your students – but it is also a fun reminder to pull out at the end of the year to see how much your students have grown and changed. We have included directions on making the paper bag book and guarantee it is simple! The book creates ten pages on the inside if you use all of our inserts.

This is the best time of year to grab our Magic School Bus resource. So many teachers use and see the value in these fun and educational videos, but some concepts are hard for students to pull from the story line. We created this with those wandering minds at heart! After watching all 52 episodes we created a note-taking page for each one. There is also a little extension activity included for each episode. We know the price tag is a little higher on this resource, but it is definitely worth the money! Normally you pay $0.39 per episode, but with this sale each episode will only cost 28 cents!

We’ve been diligently working on our Classroom Job System. We’ve seen many teachers attempt to delegate jobs to students and seen their plan backfire. Essentially the success of setting up classroom jobs is all about approaching students in a way that makes sense to them. We have spent the summer researching and developing a way to introduce jobs and build a working community in your classroom.

This weekend we’ll be posting more about the philosophy behind our job system and how to set everything up. Here is a sneak peak at the upcoming product!

Tell us one thing from our store that is on your wish list and why in the comments below. We will choose one person at random to win their wish-listed item today! Be sure to leave your email address in your comment so we can contact you if you win!

Time Saving Tips Part 1

Time management is a huge part of teaching. Check out these tips for saving time during the day with your students.

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Typically the beginning of the year, you will be introducing a lot of new things to students. Not only do you go over school rules and procedures, but you will also be introducing your students to the way your classroom runs. Admit it, we all have little nuances in the way we prefer classrooms to be run. Spend those first few weeks teaching, modeling, and practicing these routines and procedures. By taking a little extra time at the beginning of the year to get things running smoothly, you will be saving yourself countless hours of repeating yourself twenty times in ten minutes gently reminding your students the way things should be done.

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Before school starts or within the first few weeks of school choose how you want your students to come in each morning. Should they get all the chatter out of the way as they walk in the door? Do they need to be getting out materials? Will they be getting to work the moment they step foot in the class? After you have decided what they need to be doing, figure out the best way to get the administrative tasks done quickly in the morning. Set up a way for students to tell you who is absent and what they are having for lunch. Forget about wasting fifteen minutes by having students raise their hands for their lunch choice. Little Tommy is never going to figure it out what he wants if you keep giving him the chance to raise his hand.

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Unless you are crazy organized, chances are you still are completing tasks when students begin walking into your classroom. Stop what you’re doing, greet them at the door (always start your day off positive!), and then have an independent activity or something engaging ready and waiting for them. This will cut down on student chit-chat and those wandering kiddos telling you all about their silly dreams and what they had for dinner.

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A lot of teachers like to be in the drivers’ seat. In order to contain the crazy keep students on task in your room, you need to be a little controlling. However, just because you are in control, that does not mean you have to do everything! Your students are at school about eight hours a day – hold them accountable for tasks in your classroom. Let your students pass out papers, stack chairs, or sharpen pencils. Find simple tasks that you are okay with students doing and know that they can handle. This will free up some time in the day for you AND it gives those pesky early-finishers something to do!

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Music class starts at 10:30. It takes 2 minutes and 24 seconds to get to the music room. It’s 10:20. What do you do?
How often does this happen to you? You wrap up a great engaging lesson only to the look at the clock and realize your extension activity takes 15 minutes minimum and you only have 7 minutes. Find some quick and easy time fillers to use during transitions. Find a fun video about blends or create some flash cards on a topic you are studying. Give students something to do in those extra few minutes you find in your day. Rushing students out the door to get somewhere on time creates chaos. Quitting an activity to early so you don’t have to rush creates chaos. Find the balance between the two during your transitions.

What are some time-savers you use during the day with your kiddos?

We’ll be covering more time saving tips specifically for before and after school in part two!

Facebook Frenzy Madness

Wow! The August Facebook Frenzy was such a success. We welcomed over 400 new teachers to our Facebook page! If you made it through the Frenzy, you know there were some amazing free resources offered by over 70 fantastic teacher-authors.

We originally began hosting the Facebook Frenzy to offer our loyal fans some great freebies. We never could have imagined the huge event this has turned into.

On our Facebook page, we asked your opinion of the last Frenzy and definitely took your thoughts to heart. Here are some hints about the September Frenzy:

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We will be creating a brand new freebie for the September Facebook Frenzy. What topics will you be needing resources for?

Giveaway Winners and….

We are blown away by the number of entries in the giveaway and how many visitors we have had over on our Facebook page! To celebrate the end of the giveaway (Congratulations to our three lucky winners!), we’ll be having a flash freebie for a short time tomorrow.

What would you like to see as the flash freebie tomorrow?

Facebook Frenzy – Over 30 Freebies!

It’s time! Head on over to our Facebook page to start grabbing your freebies! Let us know what kind of freebies you would like to see in August. Hint: The theme is back to school!

Fabulous Follower Giveaway!

It’s here! The giveaway runs from July 12th through July 19th. Check out the three awesome prize packs below – the links to all the prizes are under the pictures. Every single is prize is in each store’s top ten sellers! All three winners also have the choice between our Charlotte’s Web Book Unit or our Radiant Rainforests resource. Thanks for all your support!

Prize Pack #1 
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}1st Grade Dolch Sight Word Program
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Busy Bees CVC Vowel Sort
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Coin Counting Math Center Activities
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Farm Friends Add the Room (Sums of 0-10)
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Kindergarten Morning Routine Sign In
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Long e Work Work Center
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Numbers 0-20 Activity Sheets
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Roll and Cover – Beach

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Prize Pack #2 
 Sweet Candy Opinion & Persuasive Writingbr {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Preposition Task Cards
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Snow White and the 7 Prefixes and Suffixes
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Common Core Morning Work-Grade 2 (Unit 1)
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Roll An Array
  br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Prize Pack #3 
 Sight Swat: Primer Dolch Wordsbr {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}
Camp Awardsbr {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}
 Shapesbr {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}
 Arctic Animal Research Pages for Early Readersbr {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}
 Sweet Inflectional Endingsbr {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}
br {mso-data-placement:same-cell;}Stellaluna Guided Reading Unit
Winner’s Choice
Lovin Lit
Whimsy Workshop
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a Rafflecopter giveaway