July 31, 2016

It's a Sale! And a Contest!!


If you haven't heard yet, TpT's big BACK-TO-SCHOOL SALE is August 1st and 2nd!  Let's all fist pump!  Anyways, TpT did this AMAZING thing!  They gave away gift certificates to GIVE AWAY!  It's the Best Year Ever and I get to GIVE too!  So, here's how this works!  

1. Head over to my Facebook page.  You can click HERE or you can go right up there in the corner and click the Facebook page button.  

2. Go to the contest post and tag a friend so they can play along.

3.  In the reply under your comment, post a link to a product you are going to buy!  It doesn't have to be from my store.  But here's a link to my store for you to check out! 

4.  Click the LIKE button while you are there so you can keep up to date with all of the news!

5.  Check back at 9 p.m. EST to see who wins!  It could be you!  

Have fun!  I will be checking in from time to time to see how it is going and to message the winner with their $10 Gift Certificate info!  



July 26, 2016

Why We MUST Reexamine our Reading Series

This week I’m using my reading series story Sled Dogs Run.  It is a wonderful story written in a way that oozes author’s purpose.  Yet, it is in the WRONG spot-a totally WRONG spot.  It is in the second unit (first week) of my reading series, in the anthology, in the WRONG season, and, above all, tied to the WRONG skills!  And this has happened over, and over, and over- WRONG stories tied to WRONG skills!  This is why we MUST reexamine our reading series!  Let’s take a closer look!
           
            Sled Dogs Run is tied to the following curriculum goals:  character, setting, plot and making predictions.  NO!  This is not what this story is about.  So, how do we go about thinking of the curriculum in a different way?  First, you will totally have a feeling about a story!  Really, that’s what happens!  If you REALLY know your standards, you can read a story, and examine your feelings about how the story fits, how the story breathes.  This story breathed Author’s Purpose to me.  It breathed of a love that brings in Author’s Perspective.  Sure, it had characters, a setting, a plot, all stories do-but it had MORE!  What else-let’s look closer!

            Language!  Words that mean so MUCH MORE!!  Rich, deep language that a beginning second grader CANNOT pull out or appreciate!  A language that was foreign in so many ways-terms that needed to be understood through a skill set that most teachers and students could never understand.  They are mushing terms.  Things that the average kid in America in second grade will never experience in second grade!  There had to be a deeper understanding than just “Let’s read it for character, setting, and plot!”  They need a specific vocabulary set to really understand this story!  Want more?

            You can’t predict this story!  You can’t! Unless you have ridden with a sled dog team and have intricate knowledge of sled dogs, you are out of luck-PERIOD!  Beginning of the year second graders can’t guess that there will be a moose on the journey.  They can’t guess that there will be a whiteout!  They can’t guess the dogs will lead her home!  They can’t break down the information and predict that trust is key!  They CAN’T!

            How do we fix this HUGE issue with reading series?  How do we get the best out of a story like Sled Dogs Run!  REEXAMINE IT!  CAREFULLY! 

1. Read the story and ask yourself, “What are the standards that go better with this story?”  There are lots of standards that can fit many stories but it often seems like reading series makers guess and apply.  You just can’t see how that standard makes sense.  Yet, we teach it anyways.  We teach it that way because “experts” say so.  I always wonder, “What experts?”  I’ve never heard of any of the people who put these series together.  They don’t offer any real reasons as to why they pick skills this way besides, “Because that’s where we put it.”  Should I stand on “because”?  I think not.  

2.   Ask yourself, “How does this fit into my other curriculum?”  Part of the reason this story is in the series is it fits into the series decision that it is about animal adaptation.  Later in the series there is a story about Alaska that ties into mapping.  How did they miss the connection?  This story better helps us understand the topography and environment of Alaska through the trip the dogs actually take!  And, throw in the main March event of the Iditarod, and you now have a highly engaged unit that works together to cover a plethora of skills-mapping, author’s purpose, figurative language, theme, opinion writing (based on the Iditarod controversy), and, in general, a fun winter topic!  Much better suited to the actual purpose of the story based on what it says in the author piece at the end of the story! 

This is the page I created to examine Author's Purpose before we read!


3.   CREATE!  Yes, create!  Or search out!  Begin to create your own material or find others who have!  Do this with support of quality teaching materials to guide your hand.  I do not just “go for it!”  I have real support through research-based materials to guide what I need to make.  Plus, to be honest, I’ve got years of this!  I was bucking the system way back when the system was bucking itself-during Whole Language.  We were allowed to freely create and make before there was TpT or the Internet!  Start out slow and seek support from other educators!  We love to do that stuff-support one another! 

4.  Try it out!  This is the hardest part.  Being brave to try out what you know is best, what you think will work.  You will gain confidence.  You will have flops-real flops!  That’s how you learn!  Just go back to the drawing board!  

5.  Reassess and reexamine!  What worked, what didn’t, and where do I want to go next?  This is REALLY important!  REALLY!  Did the standards work?  What went well, what didn’t?  Was it too rigorous, just right, or too easy?  How can I adjust that?  Did it work well where I placed it in my curriculum?  Did the students engage with the topic because they were mature enough to do so? 

           Now, I know that some of us have to follow roadmaps.   That in it self is a major problem.  I’m lucky enough to be in a district that allows us the choice-use the series or use “other” materials that go in line with the order of that curriculum.  This story easily fits into the curriculum we are completing now.  That’s another thing to really know-your road map and how to adjust stories to it, instead of the stories to the curriculum!  If you are not lucky enough to be in a district that is flexible, go talk to your administrator!  They are educators also.  Provide evidence as to the “why” of your change, to what works better.  If you district offers surveys, explain this type of thing on the surveys.  Go to curriculum in your district and really show them.  There are lots of options out there.  The reality is, until we stand up and begin to talk openly about the problems in a purchased series, there can’t be change.

           And with that, here is my last bit of advice.  Start emailing and talking to your legislators about these problems.  Email and share your issues with the company itself.  We owe it to our students and to ourselves to start speaking out!  We can’t improve unless we are willing to step out in the faith we have in ourselves as professionals!  We owe it to us!




Sled Dogs Run on TpT




July 22, 2016

Relax-Just Do It!!



Today I'm linking up with A Grace-Filled Classroom to talk about how teacher's relax!  Now, if you asked my husband, he'd totally tell you I don't!  He'd say I work too much, I'm on the computer too much, I just am "too much"!  Now, I beg to differ!  I do know how to relax-SOMETIMES!  Anyways, here a few ways I like to relax!

Today, after a crazy week of computer stuff, I decided to do one of my most favorite activities to relax-SEW!  I am currently working on a Kwik-Sew pattern of a dress.  I have never used Kwik-Sew before and I was really nervous about how this dress would fit. 
I took this picture during the time that I was totally nervous that I would NEVER wear the dress!  The pre-complete dress just didn't seem to fit.  Then, I got past the not-put-together stage and tried it on and it ROCKS!  I'm actually thinking about using it for my first day of school dress!  Even though some of this can be frustrating, it is very relaxing.  I do love to press the edges to the crispness that it takes to make it truly lovely.  I love the successful feeling of a finished garment.  I love the hunt of the fabric search, the brainstorming of the finished product.  It really is a completely amazing, relaxing process from start to finish!  Each year I post the dresses I have made. You can see the last two years here and here.  

Another way that I relax is to knit.  I haven't been doing it long and I am so glad that I did finally learn.  I was at our County Fair volunteering in a booth in the Craft Tent.  Each day there were ladies there just knitting.  I talked to them a few times and they were very nice and encouraging towards learning.  My last night of volunteering I told them that I wasn't going to leave until I learned! They were totally excited for me to stay and learn.  That night I picked up how to knit and PEARL!  Yes, there is a difference.  It was really fun!  Since then I have completed a scarf and I am slowly completing a prayer shawl to use when I am in Church or school and get cold.  


This is my favorite spot in the whole world! Doesn't it look like a Monet painting!

As far as a whole family event goes, camping is our true relaxation!  In Florida it is too hot to camp in the summer.  We head out in October for our first camping trip to Fort Wilderness (a.k.a. Disney).  This trip is relaxing a different way!  We spend lots of time with our Church friends.  It isn't until Thanksgiving, or sometimes Christmas, that we hit the real relaxation.  We LOVE our State Parks and this is when we hit those up.  We get our camper set up and hit the trails!  My younger son and I hit the trails and bike till our bike butts hurt!  My older son and husband hang out and enjoy the campground and people in it.  This is the most amazing way to relax!  I long for this time all year!  

From my love for the camping outdoors, I found another great way to relax-Birding!  It started with simply taking nature shots to then needing to learn the names.  Plus, my sister got involved in Eagle Watch, and, bam-the two merged!  So, to get away from the rat-race of day to day life, about once a month we hit the local hot spots to check on our eagle babies and, if we are lucky, some other awesome birds, such as the redheaded duck that come to our area. Again, we have to wait until it cools off for the birds to come, but once they are here, it is a great way to relax.  
This was an amazing day of birding in the "not wild"!!

One thing that I never thought would come out of relaxing is a TpT product.  When I was teaching first grade, I wanted to help my students understand the nature they were seeing around them.  From this, Bird Migration:  What Birds Do When They Fly South was born!  

Why not!  I was able to use the pictures I took while birding and, then, learned more about the birds I was watching!  It was really a fascinating product to create!  So, I challenge you, what could you do with your hobbies to create!  To teach!  To inspire!  Leave me a comment sharing your ideas!  And, check out some of the other great posts on the Link Up also!  





July 19, 2016

Learning a Lesson Through Trademark

     


     Today, I mourn a loss.  Not a human or pet loss, but that of a beloved product.  You see my friends; I made a grave error of not understanding.  I made an error against TRADEMARK!  Who knew-really, WHO KNEW!  But, let’s go through what I’ve learned! 

     First, although I have been on TpT now for almost 4 years (gasp-how!) I have never taken it very serious (see my last post on MINDSET!)   I really haven’t!  I’ve created out of necessity or out of fun.  That’s how I started offering classroom décor.  I LOVE scrapbooking and I totally thought that creating décor was the same as scrapbooking-and, in so many ways, it is!  So I started with Focus Walls!  And they sold, and sold, and sold!  That’s when I thought I’d do a Star Wars one.  I found cute clipart-on TpT- and bam-sold!  I found other sellers offering Star Wars materials and thought, “I could do that!”  Do you see the error?  I just followed other sellers.  I figured as long as I called it “themed” I was fine, right.  I mean, everyone else was doing it! 

     Then I attended the TpT Conference.  The first few people I mentioned Star Wars to seemed to be startled and then they just carried on.  No one could really explain to me WHY they were startled.  It just seemed taboo. Ok, well, I was fine right!?!  Then I overheard a conversation on TRADEMARK!   I was at the tail end of it, so I didn’t get the whole conversation.  The seller explained to me that she had taken down a Polar Express item because she had made an item that violated the TRADEMARK established by the author!  REALLY, I thought!  But yes, his title and all things involved with The Polar Express, belong to him and if you violate that trademark, TpT will deliver to you a cease and desist letter!  HOLY COW!  I verbalized, “Well, then I’ll take it down when I get one.”  Which she so wisely replied, “They only give you three chances and then they take your store totally down!”  I think she knew by my face EXACTLY what I was thinking because she replied, “I was new once too.  I’ve made lots of mistakes!”  The saddest part was, I walked away thinking everything would be ok. 

     Well, that’s not me.  It ate at me.  It picked at me.  Why in the WORLD did I think that I could just pretend I didn’t hear her!  Today, while reading for my upcoming Bible Study, it really struck home-I was becoming a slave to the very thing I didn’t want to be a slave to-money and sales!  Even though I am now more serious about sales and that this is money, I don’t want to do it without integrity.  So, you know what I did next, I went to the TpT Forums!  Yep, even though they make me jittery because of the endless threads and the not so direct answers, I went!  And there, I found some basic information on Trademark.   I was in my right mind enough to know to go to the website provided and do a search!  HOLY GOOD GOLLY!  Again, not as easy as it should be.  But there it was, in black and white, the endless list of words that show that Star Wars is trademarked, and out of my store!  I began deleting like crazy.  Here is what I did.

1.  I deleted everything but my bundles, as I know that some people might need to download that as they were growing bundles. 

2. I went into these products, edited them,  and posted a notice in the update area to ask people to download, as I will be deleting them.

3.  I priced the bundles at a ridiculous amount and changed the product description to this:

At this time this product is only still available for buyers that need to update.  I am removing this product on 7/20/16 due to a new understanding of trademark.  I am willingly doing this to comply with laws and standards, including those of TpT.  I haven't been asked, I just want to have integrity in my store.  That is why this is priced at it's current price-so I don't sell any of these but allow time for buyers to receive what they have already purchased.  Thanks!

4.  I went to the old dashboard and chose  “See Your Sales and Transactions”.  I made a spreadsheet by clicking at the bottom where it says to make it in Excel.  This is so I have a record of all the sales I have made so that if someone contacts me, I can figure out something  or some way to get them their purchase.  I can verify that the purchase was made because I put in a date well BEFORE the items were sold. 

5.  Then I cried!  Yes, I cried!  That was so much work, so much love, so much put into that product line!  I mean, I LOVE those products.  I’m a complete nerd.  But that love cannot override the right thing to do.  The risk is not worth it.  I still don’t really understand the whole process, but I feel safer to know that the risk is gone.  Now, if only I could get rid of all those Pinterest pins that are floating around!  (I have deleted all that are on my boards and have deleted as people repin from other sites!  It may take years!)


One more thought, I REALLY thought it would greatly affect my sales.  On the new dashboard it has deleted the profit.  It wasn’t as bad as I thought.  What did that teach me-that I’m a better seller than my Star Wars line.  That I am succeeding at this thing called TpT!  Slowly but surely! 

     Please share any other information you have on trademark, as I'm still not exactly sure of everything I need to know!  Or, share a story you have in the comments below!  


July 15, 2016

Five for Friday: 5 TpT Conference Take-Aways



I was totally blessed to attend the TpT Conference in Orlando on Wednesday and Thursday.  It is 48 hours of mind-blowing, never stopping, walk, listen, and take noting, meet peopling, smile and wave moments like no other conference I've ever attended!  To say that it is excitement is to downplay everything about it!  Amazing is a great word to use, but still can't capture it all.  Here are my Five for Friday take-aways with a freebie at the end!



Mindset
I’d have to say this was totally mind-blowing for me.  I know, sounds obvious right!   However, when you enter a world for the first time, things hit you in a different way.  When like-minded people surround you, you adjust your thinking.  I have been spending my whole time on TpT just feeling great about a sale, that it was fun, that it was just extra money.  I have a different mindset now.  It has to be.  There are parts of this that are a business.  I’ve begun to wrap my mind around that.  And, who doesn’t want success in a business=mindset.  I attended a session specifically about this very thing.  It was amazing and finished my first day on Wednesday.  It made me really begin to process as the evening went on.  I’m here to say, set your mind on what you want and how you want it to be.  It is very powerful to meet million dollar teachers and know they are still happy teachers, down to earth, that it doesn’t steal your joy or make you greedy and above others.  SET YOUR MIND!  So, where’s your mindset. 


Money
Again, I had to begin to think about this as real money.  Up until now I pictured it as play money.  Things I could buy for me, things I could do for my family.  I have paid for a mission trip for my son and myself.  But now, this is MONEY!  I attended a financial session (after hearing in the mindset session that if you are at the beginning of your TpT success, make a business plan and have that as your mindset!)  The gentleman that presented was a teacher who just was wise in his finances.  He made himself a millionaire by simply teaching himself what he needed to do!  As a seller, we need to be investing what we are making and really use our profit to build our personal finances.  Time to change my mindset!


Networking 
Wow!  There are SO many people at the conference-and many know each other at this point.  There were times I really struggled to fit in or find my “tribe”.  I met some wonderful ladies the first night and I did find them from time to time.  I met some of my local ladies and I was glad for that.  I met some of the Florida Bloggers, I’m happy for that.  I attended a wonderful session on Building a Tribe, and that’s where I met a group of ladies that I seemed to bond with.  Both are also from Florida and we seem to work well with each other.  I will be working on building these relationships and building more within the larger group of excellent sellers that I met.  I have to say, it brought to me the importance of finding people to network with and it changed my mindset about how to build and grow my business!


Opportunity! 
There are moments to grab-and you need to!  I was able to speak with one of the TpT Main Players and two things happened! 1.  She took a picture of my store logo to remember me by!  And, 2.  I used what we were talking about to mention a product in my store and SHE WROTE IT DOWN!  Yes, she WROTE IT DOWN!  Now, it may go absolutely nowhere, but I grabbed a moment.  
My moment was with this lovely lady!! :) 

I think the whole event is about grabbing moments, even if they are small.  You don’t have to be in the group of laughing sellers.  You don’t have to stick like glue to pals.  You don’t have to pass out the most business cards.  You have to seize moments.  Some sellers were surprised when they heard all the Teacher Super Stars I just walked up to and started talking too.  I was looking for those moments!  Why not!  I guess I had good mindset on that one! 

If you haven't met Rachel Lynnet, you haven't met the nicest person ever!  She is amazing!




ONE THING
My final take away is that there is one and ONLY ONE thing that guarantees success and repeated sales-QUALITY!   There is no formula-QUALITY! That exact word was used over and over again-from products, to pins, to videos made, to blog posts (Thanks Teeny Tiny Teacher-you were awesome!), to pictures taken that you use.  If it isn’t quality, you will not go anywhere.  You’ll get basic sales, but you won’t get repeat sales.  You want repeat sales.  Unless you commit to the best of the very best of product development, you will just make basic sales.  Quality not quantity matters.  So, I’m making this my COMPLETE mindset.  I’ve always believed that, but there are still a couple of things that I need to really work on in my store to attain what I believe are my current levels of quality!  I’m excited that this is the key, and that it is not some formula that I was missing because I can’t read the forums because they blow my mind.  That I can’t participate in Pinning Parties.  That I can’t get to my blog all the time.  Quality! 

In the middle of the night from Wednesday to Thursday I woke up with the BEST idea-only to completely forget it!  Trust me, going to the Conference makes your brain go on Hyper-active Hyper-drive!  Luckily, at Cracker Barrel during breakfast it came back to me!  A wonderful waitress lent me a pen and one of her order sheets.  I jazzed it up and made it just for this post.  This BEST idea-a basic set of business plan questions that you can fill out to begin to guide your thinking.  These came from a combination of all the sessions and all the ideas sort of jammed into one form!  So, it is yours, for free! We all need to set our minds on how to be the BEST quality we can be!  I’m excited to share it with you!  Down load it here!  


Leave your comments and thoughts about this post!  I’m excited to hear what they are!

Had to randomly share my photo too!



July 9, 2016

Dropping Some Thoughts!


Tonight I'm just dropping a quick blog post!  It has been a crazy week with an even crazier week next week!  I'm heading off to the Teachers Pay Teachers Conference in Orlando so I figured I'd just share some things I'm really excited about!  Here they are!

1.  I'm really excited to meet other people.  So far I've been going this alone, with some discussion and help from a few people I know.  I just don't know other sellers.  To be honest, the Seller's Forum overwhelms me.  With just the few groups I've joined this last week or so, I've made a few connections to get ready for next week.  And, suddenly, I'm feeling the way others talk about networking-and I haven't even gotten there yet!

2.  I can't wait to attend the sessions!  I've picked a number of sessions that I feel are geared towards where I'm at right now.  It will help me take the next step I need to grow my business.  Here are a couple of classes I'm taking: Product Planning from A-Z and Stay Relevant and Build a Long-Term Brand!  I'm ready to learn!

3. Finding a "tribe".  I've joined a "tribe" of teachers, but it is more of a discussion group.  I'm looking to find a group of people who can build a business together!  I'm totally excited about this one!

4.  Meet-Ups!  I am excited and petrified all at the same time-the same time!  I am ok with socializing with others, but I'm not the type to walk up and just start talking.  But I'm going to try my best!  The scariest thing-I kinda made a Meet-Up!  I suggested Hotel Hopping and the next thing I know, we've got a group going!  And it's going to be a fun time!! It's Disney after all!  

So, that just gives you a basic ideas of where I'm at right now, with this crazy thing!  I'm going to be sharing out with you and letting you know the ins and outs of the event ! I'm totally excited!  


 P.S. Watch for a contest coming soon!  You're going to LOVE it!

July 1, 2016

Five for Friday: Unlocking the Secrets to Text Features with Gail Gibbons Books


It’s summer, so do you know what that means?  It means teachers sell things!  Lots of things!  I’m on this Facebook Group of local teachers that post all kinds of fun things they are getting rid of, right there, shopping online, at home!  I resist most things!  I have plenty-trust me!  But sometimes I must invest! 
These bad-boys came up on the sale board and I HAD to have them. You see, Gail Gibbons is the BEST informational text author EVER!  For YEARS I have been teaching using her books, before it was even cool, to instill the love of text features in children! 

About 10 years into my teaching career is when Balanced Literacy hit the air-and I was in LOVE!  One of the key features of Balanced Literacy was to being to teach HOW reading happened within nonfiction.  I purchased Make it Real! by  Linda Hoyt.  I became very interested in something called Text Features!  This captured my attention for one main reason-I just discovered the secret to my success as a student!  I was always fascinated by history and science (still am!) and I devoured our text books in high school and college! I read every square inch of those books, I examined the pictures, read the materials below them, paid attention to headings,  and I could go on and on!  The other kids couldn’t figure out how I could so easily find answers and information, and, frankly, I couldn’t see why it was so difficult for them-it was right there!   It wasn’t until Make it Real! that I understood-I had taught myself text features and I was using them for full advantage-and the other kids in school didn’t have a clue!  And, that, became my goal-to never leave another kid (in this case student) in the dark again!  So, every year, including when I taught in the Science Lab at my school, out come the Gail Gibbons books.  So, here’s the Five for Friday top reasons you should be using them in your classroom!


TEXT FEATURES!  Can I tell you that EVERY text feature is found in one of her books (ok, not every one-no table of context and no index!) She does have an appendix if you pay attention-her extra information page!) I always start with Frogs as my first book because it has the key features found within this text.  Within the first pages read you will have encountered labels, diagrams, headings, bold print words, pictures, and captions!  You will also encounter some that, in my opinion, are just as key:  insets-where pictures are places within pictures, and cut-aways-where a picture shows the inside, or cut-away- of an item.  In this case, it is the hibernation of a frog, showing them underground in their burrow.  And, above all that, Frogs is an attention keeper!  They LOVE it!  No matter what grade (I’ve done this from 1st grade all the way to 5th grade!)


That’s right!  The second reason to use Gail Gibbon’s books is because they are highly engaging.  She does a considerable amount of research for each text. If you pay attention to the dedication page of each book, you will find out EXACTLY how much research she does, because she thanks the experts who help her.  One of her books that I use right away is Sea Turtles.  Living on the Gulf Coast of Florida, my students have first hand experience with turtle nests, but don’t really understand the why behind staying away from them.  Many are from the North where there are no sea turtles.  So, great teaching moments-BUT there’s more.  At the end, I go back and show them the dedication page!  She thanks a researcher at Mote Marine-where many of them have visited and have year round passes!  Their faces EVERY TIME!  Then we go through and do a picture walk of how it does look like our beaches!  This is not an isolated event!  We end up really examining and discussing the information within the text!  Total engagement!


Her books can teach the students the WHY of text features.  As I look at many products on TpT and other places, I see a lot of name calling!  What I mean by this is I see a lot of “This is a caption.”  “This is a picture.” I don’t see a lot of WHYS!  Why did the author use this text feature here?  Why does this text feature SUPPORT the text?  Why would you stop and pay attention to this text feature?  We need to be teaching the WHY!  It always amazes me when teachers skip this part.  Trust me, it unlocks everything!  When I was in the Science Lab, I had student whom I had taught in 2nd grade.  When I was sharing text features each week, those kids knew the WHY and could explain to others!  They were in 4th and 5th grade!  It had UNLOCKED THE SECRET CODE to nonfiction text!  This wasn’t just higher achieving students-this crossed the whole range of kids I had in class!  WHY matters-it unlocks the secret code! 


You can also teach author’s craft with Gail Gibbons books!  She has, literally, HUNDREDS of books!  I always pick some of her middle of her career books to start with.  We continually talk about her work as an author.  I share facts about her writing life and begin to slowly introduce some of her older material next.  It is much weaker and has less information and text features.  I do this on purpose.  So we can compare them to what we have been reading and talk about how her work has changed.  Then, I begin to introduce her newest material.  Then we can fully see the progression of a writer’s work over time.  How it changes, flows, develops!  It is a GREAT thing to do with kids, and it doesn’t take tons of effort or time, because it is right there, and they can see it! 


Readability!  By 2nd and 3rd grade, her books are totally at a readability place.  Even 4th and 5th graders enjoy her writing.  It is meaty enough for children at these ages, especially if they are struggling.  The pictures are still mature enough for older kids on the whole.  My kids begin checking out her books almost right away from our school library and this continues throughout the year.  It doesn’t take long for them to start trading books-which means tons of exposure to nonfiction topics in a friendly way!  It is truly a great thing to see! 



So, there’s my Five for Friday!  I have another totally cool activity I do with my students, but I’ll save that for another post !  When it is up, I will link it here!  I also plan on creating materials for both the Polar Bears and Penguin books (Penguins is a GREAT one for teaching maps as a text feature!)  so watch for those at my store!  You can follow my at The Best Days by clicking the green star!  Remember to  also follow me here at my blog and on Facebook!  And, if you have used Gail Gibbons before, share a comment to tell everyone how!