Saturday, September 29, 2012

Happy Fall / End of Quarter Sale!

 To celebrate the fall season and the end of the quarter over at Teachers Pay Teachers, I am having a sale at my store on Saturday and Sunday. Thank you, everyone, for being such dedicated followers. You keep me motivated every single day. Enjoy your weekend and happy shopping!

If you are having a sale today and tomorrow, too, feel free to leave a comment here so we can all visit your store, too!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How to use Rafflecopter Repost

I wrote this tutorial back in July. I don't know why, but, I receive tons of spam emails in response to this post. I am ready to pull my hair out! I tried to adjust my settings on who can comment on my blog, but then I found out that no one was able to comment at all. That's just not cool! So, I'm going to delete the original post from July and repost the information today. Hopefully, those annoying spammers won't find it! And, maybe someone who didn't see it back then, will learn how to use the wonderful rafflecopter.
I have really come to love using Rafflecopter when I have giveaways on my blog. It has some great functions that make it easy to set up for a giveaway and easy for the people who are entering. I am going to explain many of its functions, in the hopes of helping some of you when you go to use it for the first time.

Click the image below to go to the Rafflecopter website. If you have never used it before, you will need to register. Don't worry! It is free of charge!

Once at the site, you have 3 options: 

If you want to start a new giveaway, click on Plan One Now in the  Happening Right Now or Starting Soon boxes. Since I don't have any giveaways running right now, it doesn't matter which one I click on. They both lead to the same page. If I did have a giveaway running right now, it would be shown in the Happening Right Now box.

Once you click on Plan One Now, you have the option of starting a whole new giveaway, or, duplicating a similar giveaway.

This is a great function because if you are having a new giveaway, but the prizes are from the same people as a past giveaway, you don't have to type in all the links again. You can just go in and change whatever is different this time around. 

If you want to plan a whole new giveaway, then skip that box and go right to Nickname This Giveaway. I am calling mine Learn how to use Rafflecopter, just for the sake of this tutorial.

Next, click on Add a Prize.

Type in the prize(s) you are giving away. You will have the opportunity to add in as many prizes as you want. For this giveaway, I am only giving away one prize. If you want to give away more prizes, just keep adding them.

Next, go to the How Can People Enter section and click on Add an Option. This is where you will add all the ways people can enter your giveaway.

Once you click on Add an Option, you will be given several choices to choose from.

If none of them are what you need, click on Choose Your Own Task. This is what I use when I want someone to follow my blog or teaching store. This is what you will see when you click on Choose Your Own Task

If I want people to follow my blog or teaching store, I will type in Follow My Blog or Follow My Teaching Store. Once I do this, I click on the link icon so I can add the link to my blog. This is very important! It makes it easier for people to enter the giveaway because they just need to click the link and they will be taken, automatically, to my blog. I usually make this mandatory by checking the box. (Oops! I forgot to do that!)

This is what it says inside the link box:
[Your text to link here...](
They make it very easy for you to type in what you want the text to say and where the link is. I type in Click Here on the left side and I copy the link to my blog on the right side. I literally type right over what it says.

Here is one more really important thing! Do you see in the image below where it says I need extra info to verify this entry? And there is a box with a check mark in it? Keep that check mark if you need your entrants to verify that they have done what they were supposed to do before clicking enter. For example, if someone is asked to follow my blog, I will ask them what name they used to follow my blog. When they enter my giveaway, a blank line will appear and they will need to type in their name and/or blog name, so I can verify that they are, indeed, following my blog. However, if I don't need any information, I will uncheck the box so no one sees the blank line. Sometimes, when there is a blank line, people get confused because they don't know if they are supposed to type something in there or not. If there is no need for verification, there is no need for the blank line.

This is what it looks like when you go to enter my giveaway:

When you click on Follow My Blog, it will say Click Here. When you click on Click Here, it will take you right to my blog. You don't need to copy and paste the link. Not only is it easier, it looks better, too, without seeing the long link in there. You will do this for each blog and store you want everyone to follow. 

If you want people to leave a blog post comment, click on that, and type in what you want people to comment on.

You can assign a point value. If you really want people to comment, you can choose a higher number of points. This will increase their chances of winning.

Here is what a facebook option will look like. Just type in the name of your facebook page and paste in the URL. Choose your points and whether or not it is mandatory.

When you are done adding all your options, decide when your giveaway will begin and end. And, type in your terms and conditions. This is what I usually say, so people know that I expect them to enter my giveaway honestly:

All entries will be verified. Please do not click enter unless you have followed what is being asked of you. If a winner is chosen and he/she did not follow all the guidelines, another winner will be chosen. Thank you so much!

Last, click on Get The Widget. Click on Copy The Code. It will automatically copy to your clipboard. When you are writing your blog post, click on HTML and paste the HTML code into your blog post. When you click on Preview, you will see your Rafflecopter. 

My final Rafflecopter looks a bit different than some of my screen shots because I changed a few things along the way. The good news is, you can easily go back to your Rafflecopter and change anything you want and your information will change automatically, without you doing anything, except refreshing your page. Just click on Make Some Changes, which is on the page you get to after you click on Get The Widget.

When your giveaway is over, you just click on Moderate, and you are asked to Pick The Winners. When you click on Add a Winner, your rafflecopter will automatically choose a winner. 

Before I announce my winner, I like to verify that they have entered my giveaway honestly. I click on Show List, and follow the prompts once my list opens up. You can sort your entrants by options and search for the winner. Double check that they did what they were supposed to do. If they did not, I will choose another winner. Thankfully, I rarely have to do this! Then, click Announce and your Rafflecopter will add the winner's name.

That's it! I hope you enjoyed my tutorial and I hope you win the ultimate prize, which is to gain knowledge of how to use Rafflecopter. Feel free to enter my giveaway so that you have a better chance of winning the big  prize. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

First Grade Common Core and Kindergarten and First Grade Writing Pictures

When my students are done with their station work, I have several activities they can do while the others are finishing up. One, is to work on the carpet with a white board and all the sight words we have been working on. They love to copy the words and make sentences.

I am so proud of them!
My first graders are working on writing sentences, using the proper conventions. Fun activities, like unscrambling sentences, helps them become successful with this skill. I like to do these types of activities weekly, as it really helps them remember to use the proper conventions when they are writing stories and essays during writing workshop.

I made a ton of these activities. They can be purchased separately, or, in a bundle for a nice savings. You can check them out by clicking on the image below.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Lots of random stuff!

Thanks, everyone, for entering my 
Sight Word Game Giveaway.
The lucky winner is...
Aimee from...
I sent you an email, Aimee. 
Since you teach second grade, you can choose the first/second grade version, that I have since made. 
If anyone wants to check out the games, just click on the images below. I bundled them for a nice savings.
A few weeks ago, Lakeshore, one of my favorite places to shop for educational supplies and activities, sent me this great phonemic awareness game, called Plinko. I've seen it reviewed by several bloggers and, now it's my turn! My students really enjoyed it because it's in a game show format. It helps to reinforce beginning and ending sounds in words and rhyming. These are tough concepts for kindergartners. Even first graders can benefit from playing this game.
As with any new activity, playing it as a group is a must before you let your students have at it. I'm sure they will enjoy it! You can get more information about Plinko by clicking on my photo above.
Thanks so much Lakeshore, for sending me this amazingly fun game! You can visit Lakeshore's site by clicking on their logo below. Right now, they are offering you all 25% off. Click the log below for more information.
Here are some random photos from last week. I didn't get a chance to post much because on Tuesday, my flash drive corrupted for no particular reason, and I lost tons of files. Sadly (or stupidly!), I hadn't backed up my flash drive since August. Anything I made or saved during that time is now gone. I spent the week grieving for my lost files. I'm happy to say that I have bounced back from this tragic loss. I have learned a very valuable lesson and my external hard drive is always plugged in now.

I am really pushing my first and second graders to write 5 star sentences. In second grade, we completed a graphic organizer, discussing what 5 star sentences should have.
Then, they wrote their own 5 star sentences and I hung them up in the classroom as a reminder for when they only give me a 2 or 3 star sentence! After a while of writing 5 star sentences, I will award them with a certificate.

This activity is included in my 5 Star Sentence Unit that you can check out below.
My kindergartners are learning all about color words. They drew some really cute pictures and labeled their illustrations with color words.
The Crayon Box That Talked, by Shane DeRolf, is a great book to read during your writing workshop mini-lesson. It really shows the children why using lots of different colors is so important.
For my facebook fans, I am giving away one copy of my newest unit You've Been Punct! It's a fun game to help reinforce proper punctuation and is for first and second graders. This game can be played over and over again and will surely be a favorite of yours and your students. The giveaway ends tonight so hurry over and enter to win a copy. If you'd like to get a closer look, you can click the image below.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

A Mother's Cure Fundraiser

I have a very dear blogging buddy, Alisha, author of the Bubbly Blonde Teacher, whose childhood friend has just been diagnosed with stage 3 cancer.

This is Tiffany, with her beautiful daughter, Emma. We all have a chance to help cover her medical and living expenses AND receive some amazing teaching products. Anyone who donates a minimum of $20.00, will be emailed a HUGE package of products donated by some super talented and incredibly generous teacher sellers. The grand total of the package is over $200.00!

For more information, please click on the image below.

This is a great opportunity to help someone who needs us while acquiring some spectacular products for yourself.
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Scholastic Teacher Book Wizard