Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Love Dollar Tree & 99c Store Too...But I REALLY LOVE FREE (thank you Vistaprints!)

I love how someone said that her family refers to the Dollar Store as the $20 Dollar Store because they seem to spend that every time they go in!  Well, I've now spent a bit of money on my 'FREE' stuff, but I feel it is beyond worth it!  I recently discovered Vistaprints and have already placed two orders and am working on a third.  Where the money comes into play is in shipping.  I searched 'Vistaprints' in Google Reader & out of over 200 Teacher Blogs only a handful of posts with the word Vistaprints came up. 

You all need to know what Vistaprints has available!
Vistaprints is a company that makes marketing items for businesses such as business cards, postcards, t-shirts, magnets, car magnets and more.  You may be thinking I really don't need business cards, but how about 'free homework' cards, or 'clean desk' cards, or 'you did great today' cards?  Teachers are great at modifying things for the classroom! How teachers have used Vistaprints is no exception!  Vistaprints offers many free items, you are just charged for the shipping.  The great thing is you can tweak these things to reflect your style, theme, grade level, personality, and needs!  Here are the items from my first order:
I am getting 100 of these FREE! They are regular sized postcards.

This is a small poster for my room.

All 3 of the items above FREE
1 pen FREE, the other $2.99
Magnet for Classroom Door $4.99
Total for the order above: just under $25
Here is my second order:

250 of these-- $2.49 because I uploaded the picture of the apple basket--for behavior chart

The 3 items above FREE!
140 Labels FREE

$2.49 Because of uploaded image

100 postcards for Thanks Yous..FREE & pen FREE

25 magnets, may write names on them and use them for groups or graphing
Whole order total $30!

Here is my Sqworl folder of Vistaprint ideas from the web:

Take a look at what Kristen at First Grade Teaching created, see Jan. 13th post!

Also, check out what Mrs. Ibarra has made at Always First Grade ( ) see Dec. 31. 
Okay...I'm publishing this post! (I've been working on it all day off and on!) Have fun checking Vistaprints out!!!  I'd love to see what YOU create!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Yeaaaaaah!!! My Teacher & Education Blogs Sqworl Sidebar Is Complete! (at least for now!)

It feels so good to be posting again!  I have been busy organizing my Google Reader into folders and then copying each Blog url into the right Sqworl folder. I do feel it has been worth the time I invested into doing all of that 'Spring cleaning'!  Post coming soon on great FREE stuff you can get!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!


Yipppieeeee! More contests!!

Michelle at First Grade is Best is giving away a great Very Hungry Caterpillar tote bag.  Go check it out!

Brenda at Primary Inspired is celebrating 100 followers.  She's giving away a wonderful vocabulary packet in conjuction with Amanda at One Extra Degree & Melissa at F is for First.  She is also giving her vocabulary cards to those who follow her and post about it!


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Visit Teaching Blog Addict! My Bio is Now Posted!

I have just posted my first entry as a TBA (Teaching Blog Addict)!  Please go take a look and see what the other teachers have posted as well!

Managing and Organizing This Wonderful Obsession-2 Great Sites to Help!

It has bitten me BIG TIME!  Over the past few months I have found so many amazing teacher blogs.  I really don't remember which blog I found first, but I know I started clicking on the sidebar to see other blogs adding them to my 'favorites' on Internet Explorer.  Soon my list was VERY long.  One blog I found Free Technology for Teachers had a post about Google Reader, enter Helpful Site #1.  If you are trying to look at many different blogs I would HIGHLY recommend checking into Google Reader.  You simply set up an account with an email.  Then you can start entering blog urls.  You can make folders to group the different kinds of blogs you are looking at.  I have the following folders in mine; Kinder, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Technology, Reading Literacy Focus, and Various or Unknown.  When you first enter a blog into Google Reader it will show the last 10 posts.  I would recommend scrolling through those posts.  If there is something that catches your eye click on the star and you can come back to it later and read it through thoroughly. 
I currently have almost 200 blogs in Google Reader!  Every time a new post is published Google Reader makes the blog title bold and it lists how many entries you have not 'read'. 
A GREAT feature about using google reader is when you are looking for something specific you can search all of the blogs you have.  I heard one of our kinder teachers talking about starting on oviparous animals.  We search in my Google Reader and found 15 blog posts that had oviparous in them.  There were kinder, first, and several multi grade blogs.  I consider that a terrific feature!!
The next issue I was facing was both my favorites window going on and on with teacher resources, student resources, teacher (nonblog) websites, and more.  The other thing is that I had started my own blog and my sidebar was also going on and on and on and ON!!!  I didn't want to eliminate any of them, but I had only put on 3rd, 2nd, and 1st grade blogs and I hadn't got to kinder, 4th, or various grade levels then I found Sqworl, thanks to a number of bloggers. 
     I have two accounts one for my teacher resources stuff and one for blogs.  The one for the blogs I have attached to my sidebar.  That way anyone who visits my blog has access to all of the blogs I've found!  Now I have room to post more blog buttons. (I LOVE blog buttons)  Not all of my sqworl folders are complete yet, so check back soon. 
    I hope this post can help you organize your obsession too!
   One more note--if you do not see your blog or a great one you know of in the sqworl links or if it is mislabled please leave a comment.  I am still working on kinder, tech, reading/literacy and 4th & above folders! Thanks!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sidebar Under Construction!

Please be patient, I know my sidebar goes on forever, I have some ideas for making it better, but I haven't worked the kinks out yet!  Have a great Thursday!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Teaching Blogs Making the World a Better Place!

Okay, maybe you think my title's going a bit too far...but is it really?  We are in challenging times in education.  There is sooooo much focus on THE TEST (whatever test your state or country uses), teachers seemed to be blamed for all the ills of society, and with budget nightmares we have lost many young energetic, enthusiastic teachers.  I believe healthy schools and districts need the wisdom and experience of veteran teachers and the freshness, eagerness, and latest research and knowedge of our new teachers.  At least in my state new teachers are not being hired and some districts have gone back five years worth of hiring for layoffs. :(  It is easy to have burnout with those circumstances, but then to find a community of teachers of varying levels and experience so willing and eager to share with one another sparks that fire that I believe we all have as educators!  The Bible says "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" Proverbs 27:17.  That's what this community seems to do, bring out the best in each other!  I have been working hard to get my room more organized; I'm not ready to post pictures yet..too much 'bad' and 'ugly' still!  When I feel the good outweighs the other two I'll post pictures of my classroom.  I have had a renewed excitement and passion for teaching and being an educator since diving into the world of teacher blogs!

I wanted to share another way this community has made a difference; Mrs. Durning at Second Grade is Splendid donated her quarter's earnings from TpT (teachers pay teachers) to help a friend and colleague dealing with cancer! 

The other story that moved me to tears is Deanna Jump, who is listed as the #1 seller on TpT.  When I read her post about how she had spent her earnings I said a 'thank you' prayer that she has been able to have that extra income from other teachers! Check out her blog dated April 11th.

Let's keep sharpening and encouraging one another and have the next generation benifit from our sharing!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Great Reward (& FUN too!) Sound Buttons!

Hi!  I wanted to share my collection of Hallmark sound buttons.  If you have never seen them they are GREAT for classroom use!  I remember seeing them at Hallmark when they first came out and thinking what would I do with that!  I must give the credit to Kim Sutton (Elementary Math Guru--see my first post) for my complete change in attitude towards these fabulous buttons!  She shared how she used the 'Whoomp Button' with sixth graders when they really put forth effort and did great thinking they got to press the 'Whoomp Button' and hear a portion of the song 'whoomp there it is...'  So, my collection began!  I bought some of them from Hallmark for around $12 and several of them on ebay.  I had decided I wouldn't spend over $10 a button including shipping.  The last two I got were 'ABC 123' (the Jackson's) and 'Ain't Too Proud To Beg' on clearance at Hallmark for $2 each!  The 'Are You Chicken?' does the Chicken Dance Song, the 'Force Field' does the Star Wars theme, but I must say my favorite is 'The Hampster of Happiness' button.  It has about 12 different saying that crack me up!  I use the buttons when students have done something great such as found one of our vocabulary words in something besides the story it came from, or went beyond in some way.  They get to choose which button they want to push!  They really enjoy them!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Give Aways Galore! Check Them Out!

The first contest I want to share with you is at Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher. Julie has made it to 100 followers! (Now she's almost at 120! Go Julie) She is giving away Pampered Chef Bamboo Salad Tongs and her Monster Multiplication!
Lutton 519
Next, Mrs. Saoud at Primary Graffiti is giving away $25 gift card for Lakeshore!

Hadar from Outfitted and Inspired is having a contest, but this one is at Teaching Blog Addict where she is one of the amazing writers! She is giving a summer countdown wall hanger!

Finally, the ladies at Lesson Plan SOS are giving away an autographed copy of Arthur Turns Green and their Arthur Turns Green Lesson (they have great pictures of meeting with Marc Brown and the kids having a great time with GREEN) Go check it out!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My First Linky Party!

This is my first 'Linky Party' It is about your top 7 favorite (NON TEACHING RELATED)things.
1. My wonderful family!
My husband Jim (our 9th anniversary is coming up in June), my stepson Tyler 14, my son Andrew 11, and my daughter Sieanna 7. My husband also has two grown children Nina & Joel. Each of them have a little girl Hayden 2 1/2, Isabel 2 months.

2. My Church/Church Family/Relationship with the Lord
Yep, I know I'm sort of cheating, but they're very connected. I am blessed to be a part of a great church that teaches God's Word, and the people there are like family. They help my relationship with the Lord to grow. I am thankful for the blessings we have!
3. TEA!
Hot, iced, black, green, white, herbal, chai, flavored, with milk, name it I love it! I almost always have some kind of tea with me!
4. Scrapbooking, card making, paper crafting
I love Close to my Heart products, papers, embellishments...and more! I just wish I could get more done! (there's never enough time to squeeze everything in) I have so many layouts in my head, now if I can just get them into my scrapbook! :)
5. Karen Kingsbury's Books!
In the last year I've read about twenty of her books! She brings her characters to life so well! I look forward to reading many, many more of her books!
6. Reality Shows! Specifically American Idol (loving this season!), Celebrity Rehab, Secret Millionare, Undercover Boss, & Next Food Network Star! (Our fav. non-reality CHUCK!)
I'm right now asking my husband about that! (He said I love sleep, sleep, sleep) After my first year teaching my principal (with affection thank goodness) said in a meeting that "Miss Frey has lots of energy, and most of it comes out of her mouth!" My daughter's comment about what things I love--'your phone!'

Thanks Persnickety Pickles for the opportunity to share with others what I love! {Note: this blog no longer exists [12/31/14]}

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yes, I am a Blog-a-holic!! (I'm not in Denial, but I Don't Want to be Cured!)

I am fully admitting that I am a Blog-a-holic!  Now I KNOW I'm not alone!  A new blog started just a few days agoTeacher Blog Addict and it already has over 200 followers!  I can't tell you their exact statistics, because the followers button isn't working.  I already had almost all of the blogs they are following in Google Reader and/or my sidebar.  My sidebar isn't finished yet. I'm still trying to categorize all the blogs I'm following.  I have about 90 kindergarten blogs that I haven't moved over and around 30-40 that I'm not sure of grade level or are multigrade level.  Hopefully I'll have it all figured out very soon.  Here's the blog I referred to:

Monday, April 11, 2011

Another Contest! Whoo Hooo!

I was so excited to post about the last contest, I forgot to change my font and color!  I'm going to try larger writing now and see how I like it!

Now for the contest; Kelley Randall at Mrs. Randall's Learning Library is giving away a student blogging kit!  It looks great!  Head on over and read about it, then enter!

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Kim Saylor at Mrs. Saylor's Log has reached 100 followers. (Right now she's up to 140!) To celebrate she's giving a $25 gift card for Amazon!  I'm going to see if I can post her button in this goes!
Good Luck!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Last Week Day of Spring Break! & Improved Blog Table

I can't believe it's Friday already!!  I accomplished some of the things on my 'To Do' list, but nearly as many as I would have liked to check off.  Back to the classroom today for more sorting, organizing, planning, etc! 

I worked on my blog list and ordered it by grade level.  I had to put a zero infront of K to keep all of the kindergarten blogs together!  I also have added several more third and second grade blogs.  Now can someone please add a few more hours into each day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Resources, Resources, Resources!

Hello!  My name is Nancy and I am a blog-a-holic, font-a-holic, resource-hunting-a-olic, and a share-a-holic!  This is my first blog entry and it is likely to pretty long!  I've had so many thoughts bouncing around in my head to share!  I have been collecting blog addresses for several weeks now.  My orginal thought was to create a table with the blog name, url, and what grade the teacher taught, and then give it to my fellow teachers...well...the more I found, the more I had the desire to do the same. So, here it is!
My former teammate Marcie Evans has inspired me so very much through the years!  She is the one who first introduced me to 'blogs'.  This is her former classroom blog. I hope you take a look at it!  She had a frog theme and I couldn't come up with a 'theme' for my room.  Then I realized I had a lot of apple stuff that was in my garage since the room it had been in became my husband's office.  I took it all to school and the 'apple basket' was born! Then I created a classroom blog with her help.  This year I haven't updated it at all; we just use it when we go to the computer lab and the students go to the links I instruct them to go to.  Here it is I plan to update it when I get through with all of this!

The first resource I want to share is It is wonderful.  When I first looked at the site I was overwhelmed and left it quickly then Marcie let me in on how to use it...go to your grade level board and that's it!  I have found sooooo many useful resources and ideas there!!!!!  I'm finally a Jr. member although I've been a member since August 2007.  For the first several years I just read and downloaded resources that others had posted. (look for the paperclip it indicates an attachment..worksheet, game, poster, organizational tool etc.)  I finally started posting comments and questions and now I can post attachments too.  Check it out!

The next resource I need to share is Kim Sutton's Creative Mathematics.  She is a true guru in elementary mathematics!  If you ever get a chance to hear her speak or go to one of her conferences don't pass it up!  I have had the opportunity to hear her about a dozen times, at math conferences or going to one of her trainings and EVERY time I have ever hear her I have learned something new.  One of the things she says motivates children are 4 4-letter words: dice (she uses double dice & others!) race, game, and food (just naming something after a food can spark interest!). Check out her site

Kim Sutton asked Ron Brown many years ago to put some math concepts to music, he did, and as they say the rest is history!  He not only has math music, but other concepts as well!  The kids absolutely LOVE his stuff and it teaches the concepts so well!  Check out his website 

Whole Brain Teaching is AWESOME!  If you have never checked them out I strongly encourage you to do so!  In December I went to a one day training and it has changed the way I teach!  You can see their videos on teacher tube if your school district blocks youtube.  They used to be referred to as Power Teaching, but change their name to represent what they are sharing more accurately.  The idea is that the more areas of the brain that we actively engage the more learning occurs.  Their techniques also help with classroom management and discipline.  This Saturday, April 9, they are having a live TV broadcast on the web!  It's completely free and you can text in questions to the founder, Chris Biffle.  It is at 9 a.m. PST and here's the link  Their website has tons of great info and free downloadable ebooks, all they ask is to spread the word!.  I have begun using their 'power pix'
If you have never checked out Beth Newingham's website; it is a MUST VISIT for elementary teachers!  I have no idea how she does it all!  She has many resources avalible on her site. Check it out!

 Lettering Delights is my go to spot for all of the above!  Not only do they have great fonts, they also have 'alphabets'.  Alphabets are the colorful lettering you see throughout this post.  They can be used for bulletin board headings, in worksheets, letters, and forms.  The great thing about Lettering Delights is that you can access your library (everything you've bought or got as a freebie) from any computer that has access to the internet.  This is really helpful when you're working on stuff and home and at school!  You simply choose the alphabet you want to use click the 'try me now' button, type what you want to, save it, and insert it as a picture into word or other programs.  Right now it's Dollar Days where just about everything is just $1!  If you sign up with them you get $40 value of free stuff!  I also like Scrapn'fonts, they also will have freebies and $1 days too.  For free fonts ,&   are terrific!  I have also just learned about ,   although I haven't purchased any of their products yet.
I wanted to post a sample wordle for you, but I'm just a little frustrated with how to include a google document!  I'll focus on that later!  Trust me that it is worth checkin' out!  There are so many possiblities for using this application.  I am including a link with wordle ideas for the classroom.  When I get google docs figured out I may post some that I have made. WARNING!! Do not let your students at the gallery!! So people wordle things that, shall we say, are VERY inappropriate!  You may want to browse through it for ideas. Here's the link for the ideas

First Grade teachers, you have just hit the resources lottery jackpot!  There are  many wonderful teacher blogs, but it seems that the vast majority of them are at 1st grade.  The table (which I hopefully will figure out in a moment how to include!) shows the blog name (if it is highlighted I have personally found a resource, idea, link, download or something I feel I can use), web address, grade (if I know), and the 'x' is if I have gone through the whole web site yet.  You can see I have a ways to go!!!  Many of these teachers even offer contests to win some of the things they've made, gift cards to places teachers love, and cards to font & graphics sites!

Here is my table...YEAH figured out how to get google docs in here...therefore the wordle ideas wordle is in that section!!! :)
Now you may be thinking..'I can't keep going to all these sites and checking back constantly to see if there are any updates Well, welcome

In Google Reader you can enter a subscription, when you press that button simply paste in the web address of the blog you are interested in.  Whenever you go to google reader it will let you know if there are any new posts by the author of the blog.  I quickly scroll through the blogs and click the little star next to the post title for those that I want to look at more carefully later or download something from.  It is like a bookmark.  You can also create folders to organize the blogs you are following.  I have one for k, 1st, 2nd, fonts & graphics, and other (some spiritual, inspirational, fibro etc)  You can always go to the blog title at the top click it and it will take you to the actual blog! That way you can see their cute graphics, comment on posts, and see their sidebars.
Here's last resource I'll share today. Teacher pay Teachers; many of the teachers who have blogs sell the wonderful things they make on TpT.  The ones I've looked at seem very resonably priced, and even better (since money is tight) if you search under your grade level and have the price go from least to greatest you can find tons of FREE items.  I found signs, forms, powerpoints and more!

Now I said some of these teachers have contests, these are some that are happening right now:
She has a really cute vacation countdown wall hanger!
 She's giving away a Pirate's Gold unit she created!
She's giving away a Fairy Tale Unit written by Brooke at Primary Perspective!
She's giving away 3 Literacy Center Packets!
She's giving away $100 Gift Card to Learning is Fun Education Store!!!!
She's giving away several units that are also written by Brooke at Primary Perspective!
There may be more out there but I am determined to launch this blog TONIGHT!

A special GREAT BIG THANK YOU to Kristen at Ladybug Resources for the technical help I needed to get this out there!!! :)

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and what you thought!
Thanks for Visiting

09 10 11 12
Blogging tips