Saturday, July 30, 2011

Amazon Listings Inactive but Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook Up and Running!

I am off to the lake for a one last week of relaxation before the back to school rush! Since I won't be home to ship out CD's I have made my listings on Amazon inactive. I will be reactivating them by the end of the week.

Don't worry though you can still find all my products available as downloads 24/7 at Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook.

Not only are my products available as a download but I am offering a 20% off Back to School Sale from August 1-6 at both sites for all downloadable products.

And there's more! Teachers Pay Teachers is also offering 10% off sitewide from 8/1-8/6 with the code: B1T1S. That code can be used sitewide and there are many other fantastic sellers also offering sales during this time so check us all out! That means up to 30% off for you!

So just because I'm off fishing doesn't mean you have to stop shopping! Enjoy!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The 10% OFF promo code will be B1T1S and be good from the 1st-6th

Biology Introduction Complete Unit Plan 20Products

The Ultimate Lab Safety Bundle for Science Teachers

Metric System Scientific Measurement Unit Plan of 12 Products

Science Stuff Blog

Think-Tac-Toe-Bundle Differentiated Literacy Activities for Any Text
Literacy Activities Using Thinking Maps 
Sentence Starters for Paideia Seminars

Reading Comprehension Strategy Resource Binder

Literacy Elements Resource Binder

11 Themed Kooshball Templates for your SMARTboard
Runde's Room Blog

Rachel Lynette's TpT Store

Beginning of the Year Activities
Any List Spelling Activities

150 Creative and Critical Thinking Cards

Minds in Bloom Blog

Spanish Speaking Activities

Spanish Projects

Spanish Bell Ringers

Spanish Plan's Blog

Student Portfolios: A Collection of Printables for Throughout the Year

Animal Habitats Mini-Unit: Balanced Literacy ArtScience

Number of the Day: Developing Number Sense Numbers from 1 to 50

Teaching In the Early Years Blogspot

Classroom and Behavior Management Package

Translations, Reflections, Rotations, and Graphing Activities Package

Geometry Review: 8 Math Centers

Printable Beginning Readers Sets 123 At One Low Price

Preschool-Kindergarten-First Grade Reading Math Games SAVE ON BOTH

Kindergarten Sight Word Books BUY ALL 5 SETS AND SAVE

Teacher Tam's Educational Adventures Blogspot

Daily Essential Vocabulary

Action Verbs and Keith Haring
7th Grade Bell Assignments

Life in Special Education Blogspot

 Irregular Past Tense Verb Game: Grammar and Vocabulary Unit Plan

Reflexive Pronouns ELD-ESL: Grammar Unit and Lesson Plan

Place Value with 3 Digit Numbers Games and Lesson Plans, Math Games

 Scrabble Math Literacy Activities

Alien Text Talk Full Year Daily Language Practice Grammar and Spelling

Mr. Popper's Penguins Novel Teaching Unit

The Teaching Banks' Blog



 Reading Tracker Bookmarks for Students

Reading Workshop Task Menu Recording Sheets Grades 4-5

ROCK-n-ROLL Classroom Theme Back to School

Effective Teaching Solutions Blog

 Spanish Greetings and Farewells and Basic Introductions Packet

Telling Time in Spanish Fun Thematic Unit Bundle

Solve Systems of Equations Resource and Activity Packet

The Enlightened Elephant's Blog

 Fabulous Fairy Tales Unit Ideas for 10 Fairy Tales

The Great Poetry Race Fluency Kit

Addition and Subtraction Mystery Pictures

First Grade Brain Blog

 36 Week Reading Response Journal

Read-Aloud Journal: A Simple Way to Teach Reading Strategies

Writing Journal Genre Infomational or Expository

Raki's Rad Resources Blog

Back to School Unit September

Complete Poetry Unit

Literature Worksheets for Any Book

 Mayflower Mayhem Podcast Classroom Package American History

Reading Iintroduction Power Point and Daily Use Skill Bookmarks

Reading Skills Power Point Game Full Version

Schoolbox Treasure's Blog

 Back to School with Miss Bindergarten

Back to School ABC's of Kindergarten Handbook

Ready for Summer Math and Literacy Center

Peace, Love, and Learning Blog

 Greatest Common Factory and Least Common Multiple Four-in-a-Row Game

Gallon Castle A Story of One Family in Capacity Kingdom

Time Center Activity: Racing Fun With Time

Vintage Teacher Blog

 Welcome Back to School Activities for the First Day and Beyond

Wild About Learning Wild Animals Safari Jungle Classroom Theme

A-Dino-Mite-Year Dinosaur Classroom Theme

 50 Spelling Homework Assignments for Any List

Antonym Power Point and Worksheets

Compound Word Power Point

 Reading Record-and-Response Book with Graphic Organizers

Daily 5 Chart Management System for Kids to Monitor Daily Activities

Colors and Color Words Sorting Mats Circus

Rockin' Teacher Materials Blog

 How to Make SMores Interactive Easy Readers

Pet Math Work Station Activities

Big Chickens Fly the Coop Shared Reading Plans

A Special Kind of Class Blog

 Teaching Tips from an Award Winning National Board Certified Teacher

Test Prep Tournaments for Any Grade and Subject

Word Problem of the Day 200 Word Problem Charts

The Best of Teachers Pay Teachers Blog

 Angles Geometry Hands on Activities

Bug-Ya Basic Math Facts Computation Game
Fractions for the Confused and Bewildered AllOperations

Go Figure With SciPi's Blog

 Generic Writing and Reading Workshop PDF's

UNITS 1-10 Test Reviews for Grade 1 Everyday Math Notebook Files

Open-Ended Student Reading Strategies Posters for Grades 2 through 5 and Wise Owl Factory Language Arts CD

Wise Owl Factory Book a Day Blog

 Wise Guys TpT Store

Beginning of the Year 18 Lessons, Activities, and Worksheets on a CD

Guided Reading Worksheets and Activities 38 Pages for Any Novel

Creative Monthly Elementary Reading Log for September, Football Theme

Wise Guys Blog

Game Subject Predicate Grammar File Folder Center Literacy Sentences

Fall -Winter Ordered Pairs Pack Bundle Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas

Smarty Pants Teaching Blog

  Smarty Pants Teaching Store on TpT

All About Me Let's Make a Book

I Can Draw, I Can Write Animal Friends Fun Pack

African Jungle Animals Let's Make a Book

Kinder Kay's Store on TpT

  Rosshalde Pak's TpT Store

First Week of an ESL-ELL-ELD Class BI-I Language Abilities

All About You Questionaire

4th Grade Theme 1 Vocabulary Quizzes Journeys

Education Shortlist Blog

TpT Store for First Grade Fanatics

Reading Strategies Poster Pack Decoding and Comprehension

Ice Cream Math Timed Test Pack Addition

Pocket Chart Calendar Cards

First Grade Fanatics Blog

Secondary Solutions Store on TpT 

The Outsiders Literature Guide Common Core Standards Based

Creative writing Activities to Help Build Confident Writers

Activity Pack for The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Secondary Solutions Blog

Color Matching Game Ready Set Match

3D Shapes with their Nets and Properties

WORD WALL OF COLORS for Back to School

Nyla's Crafty Teaching Blog

Teched Out Teacher's TpT Store

Super Science Set Weather and Climate

Sports Theme Classroom Pack

Pets Theme Classroom Pack

Teched Out Teacher Blog

Clip art from: 
Digi Web Studio

Monday, July 25, 2011

Journey of a Teaching Entrepreneur!

Back in 2003 I first started selling my novel units on Ebay. At the time I had a huge 9 units available! I tested the water a bit to see if anyone was interested. I knew how much I spent on teaching resources for my own classroom with books by Teacher Created Materials and other similar publishers. The thing that bugged me the most about buying these books was that I would only pick and choose a few things and then have to spend a bunch of time modifying them, putting together a unit and writing the teaching plans for submission to administration. For the money I was spending I felt I shouldn't have to put forth as much work myself! I decided to sell my units with the plans written and get rid of all the "fluff" that I would exclude from all the stuff I would buy. I would sell a unit that was probably smaller than the big publishers (definitely cheaper) but it would be practical and in essence you'd get more bang for your buck!

It worked and I built up a customer base and started getting requests for more units for different books. I went to work creating more. In 2005 I was contacted by and was asked to allow them to sell my units on their site. We have had a nice partnership since then.

In 2007 sales at Ebay started to get smaller and smaller as the website changed. Many of the great customers had left the site due to it being overrun with high priced items and a huge increase in fraud. I started to look elsewhere to sell my wares and realized Amazon may be a fit for me. I still have a couple auctions up on Ebay going all the time but I no longer have a store there or much of a presence. My Amazon store on the other hand brought a whole new group of consumers and has been a great fit. It is a much more trusted site and my customers don't have to worry as much about fraud issues. The biggest downside with Amazon however is the inability to sell as a download. I can only sell on a CD and mail it. I know many teachers want the product now! They want to get started planning ASAP, not wait for the postal mail a week later. Not to mention having to pay a higher cost due to shipping fees. Another limitation to this method is when I leave town I have to totally shut down sales since I can't ship them out.  I could sell my units in the Kindle format so the customer could get it ASAP but they would not be able to print it out which would be a huge negative.

Things slowly grew at Amazon and last summer I came across the Teachers Pay Teachers site on of all places the disboards, a website for Disney World lovers! I checked it out and realized this could solve my lack of a download problem! I could sell on a CD and as an immediate download. I immediately created a TpT Store and started uploading all my units.  Teachers Pay Teachers has been the best fit! Not only can I sell in a way that is best for teachers but there are great forums there full of teacher entrepreneurs like me that I learn so much from and motivate me to challenge myself to create new and improved products. I love being a member of the community there.

This summer I was contacted by a new site, Teacher's Notebook. They are a direct competitor of Teachers Pay Teachers with pretty much the same format for buying items. I set up a TN Storefront and the jury is still out on how it will go. It is a very graphically inviting site but there are still some improvements that will need to be made to be equal to, or better than, Teachers Pay Teachers both from both a buyer and seller's standpoint.

So what does all this mean for the buyer? Where should you shop? Personally I would direct you to TpT Storefront. I say that simply because it has the best options for a buyer. You can purchase on a CD and wait for the mail if you choose. You can download and have your product ASAP. The best thing about them is they allow a seller to notify you when any modifications are made to a product that was previously downloaded. This may be as simple as a typo was fixed or it could be a total overhaul of the product. As a buyer you can download the modified version at no extra cost. That is a huge benefit for the buyer. How many other stores allow you to get upgrades for free? I have spent a good deal of time this summer modifying my existing novel units and adding assessments, new graphics, etc. to them. All of the past buyers have been able to get this new improved unit for free. I still have many units to do and will be working on them throughout the next year. You can bet if you downloaded from TpT you'll be getting an email inviting you to get the new improved version for free!

So that's my story as a teaching entrepreneur. Do you have products that you've created that you know others can use? I encourage you to join me and the many other wonderful teachers at both Teachers Pay Teachers and Teacher's Notebook to share your ideas. There are links on the left to direct you to become a seller at both sites. I encourage to give it a shot. It is rewarding to find that not only are your lessons and ideas wonderful in your classroom but that there are teachers all over who want to use them too!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Space Shuttle Experience Part 2! It's a GO!

If you have read my past posts you are aware that I have had a dream to see a space shuttle launch since I was a child. In April my family and I traveled to Florida with tickets graciously given by Senator Johanns of Nebraska to attend the Endeavour launch. Due to a technical glitch that launch was delayed by a couple weeks and since the school has such pesky attendance policies (just kidding!) we were not able to stay or return for the launch.  At the time my heart was broken and I thought I had lost my one and only chance. I contacted the NASA reps that handle the congressional tickets and asked if there was any way I could roll over my ticket request to the Atlantis launch this summer. The Gods were smiling down on me and I was again granted tickets for the Atlantis launch scheduled for July 8, 2011 at 11:26 AM. This launch is the very last space shuttle launch EVER! My very last chance!

We flew to Orlando on the night of July 6th and drove to our hotel on the space coast July 7. All day on the 7th was rainy and drizzly. Thick cloud cover as if we were sitting in a cloud. The news and forecasters were giving the launch only a 30% chance on the 8th and everyone was talking very pessimistically. I was so scared that yet again seeing a launch would be just out of reach. We did plan to stay for a week in case of weather scrubs but the long range forecast wasn't looking much better.

I didn't sleep well the night of the 7th. I checked the NASA computer feed on progress at 2 AM to see if they would even progress with the fuel tanking. They went ahead and fueled up so I tried to get a little more rest. Alarm went off at 4 AM.  We had to meet the NASA bus at the Merritt Square Mall at 7 AM which was about an hour drive from our hotel in New Smyrna Beach. With crowd estimates at near 1 million I didn't want to take the chance of getting stuck in traffic and missing my bus! We headed out about 5 and arrived with no traffic issues about 6. Launch chances were still only at 30%.

We boarded the bus and were taken to the NASA Causeway for viewing. We arrived about 9:30. We found a good spot at the front of the ropes with an unobstructed view of the launch pad. It was still pretty hazy so the shuttle looked awfully small 6 miles away from us! We got some pictures and studied the shuttle and launch pads with our binoculars. The energy of the crowd was fun, everyone so excited and nervous together.
The launch pad is above my older son's head. Pretty small!

Zoomed in on the camera!

Our first miracle happened about 10:30. I was watching the NASA twitter feed and all of a sudden the launch went from a 70% of "no go" to weather was a "GO"!! The clouds had started to part a bit and the haze started to clear off. As we sat there the shuttle became clearer and clearer.  I was simply antsy in my chair thinking this might actually happen! I had a smile plastered across my face and I kept saying over and over "It might actually go up! This is going to happen for us!"

As the hour counted down we got more and more excited. The speaker system set up was announcing all clear on the technical and weather side and all was on track for 11:26 launch! We watched excitedly as 2 minutes to launch the arms from the launch pad were retracted from the shuttle and we could start to see the steam rising from the base!

One minute to launch, I could hardly contain my excitement and then at 31 seconds to go the speakers announced clock stopped! WHAT!!! NO!!! Lots of confusion on the Causeway and everyone trying to figure out what going on. My heart was just heavy and beating a million beats a minute. Please don't scrub this close!

Then miracle number two, the clocks resumed! Apparently the retraction arm sensor showed an error but a camera on the pad confirmed it was safely out of the way and launch was back on! 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 LIFT OFF of space shuttle ATLANTIS!! I watched through my binoculars at the smoke rising from the pad and as soon as the shuttle started to move heavenward I put them down and watched with my eyes. I have watched many, many launches on TV but there were a few things that struck me about being there in person. First, was the brightness of the flames under the shuttle. It was so awesome to see and I can only imagine how incredible a night launch must be! We watched in tears and cheers as Atlantis crossed through the first layer of clouds and then we got another view through the cloud break. Got to see it up for a good minute or so. I was prepared for the delay in sound but it took longer than I had anticipated. Atlantis was almost out of view when it hit us. I was looking forward to the bone shaking sound and I was a little disappointed because the wind was blowing away from us and I think it was diminished a bit. It still was remarkable and it was unlike any sound I have ever heard before. It was very, very low rumble that grew and grew and washed over you. Lots of crackling in the rumble as well. Very unique and something I won't forget!
Not my picture. My photography skills would not have done it justice!
Once the sound passed us and Atlantis was out of sight we all hugged and wiped the tears from our eyes. The kids were really excited and kept saying how cool it was. They were also very disappointed that we couldn't watch another launch in the future. Our feelings were mirrored from most in the crowd. Everyone hugging, cheering, and wiping away the tears.

We rejoiced and took some pictures of the plume trail left behind. It was really neat to see it stay there and expand. We could still see it in the sky when the bus rolled away an hour after launch.
Plume a couple minutes after launch.
My daughter with the expanding plume.

Before boarding the bus I had to sit in my chair and just process and reflect for a minute. I was shaking from the adrenaline of it and still tearing up. The realization that I actually saw a launch in person was hard to grasp. Still 1.5 weeks later I am still in shock that I saw it and it almost doesn't seem real. Not only did I get to see it but I had realized a life long dream. The accomplishment of that feels really good!

I also reflected on 2 people that were partly responsible for my shuttle interest. My Grandma Christensen was always very interested in new technology and she talked often of the miracle of the space program. When I was 12 she took us to Kennedy Space Center which expanded my awe of the shuttle program. My Grandma died in 1997 but I know she was there with me in spirit!

In 1985 NASA announced the Teachers in Space program. Mr. Kevin Falon, a teacher from a high school in my town was selected as a finalist. On January 28, 1986, with teacher Christa McAuliffe aboard, Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after launch. At the time I was in Junior High and I remember vividly of the announcement over the intercom and the teacher bringing a TV into the classroom to watch the news footage. In September 1988 NASA returned Space Shuttle Discovery to space as the first shuttle after the Challenger disaster. I was in 12th grade at the time and I happened to be in Mr. Falon's Mass Media class at the time of the launch. He brought in a TV and we all watched and cheered. After the launch the class turned to a discussion of Mr. Falon's experience and his love of the space program. Many students commented that he was lucky he didn't get picked and wasn't on Challenger. What really stuck with me was the fact that he said even knowing what happened to Challenger he still wishes he could have been chosen. He was willing to sacrifice to realize his dream. That has always stuck with me over the years. Sadly Mr. Falon died a few years later in a crash of a plane he was piloting. I have thought of him often over the years and I was sad to hear he died, but I take comfort in knowing he tried to live his life to the fullest while he was here and I try and learn from his example.

So with my Grandma and Mr. Falon in mind I realized one of my dreams, to see a launch in person. I am so very fortunate that I was able to share the experience with my husband and children. I am hoping this experience will be something my kids keep with them and use to strive for the heavens with any dreams they may have. They are already talking about what kinds of jobs they can get at NASA and how they can be a part of the next generation of space travel.

Space Shuttle Atlantis is scheduled to land at Kennedy Space Center, tomorrow, July 21 at 5:56 AM. I plan to watch "my shuttle" land which will mark the official end of the 30 year Space Shuttle program.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The storm seems to have passed... Back to shopping!

I don't know if you have been as frustrated as I have been today with the Teacher's Pay Teachers site! Technical difficulties during the Christmas in July sale is just not fun! It seems the storm has passed and the site is back up and running. I assume if I couldn't log onto the site today you weren't able to either and that made it hard to take advantage of the great sales! To make up for it I have extended my 20% off Christmas in July sale until July 22! Ho, Ho, Ho! Merry Christmas in July!

Don't miss out on Christmas in July!

Don't miss out on the Christmas in July sale at my Teachers Pay Teacher store. 20% off everything for one day only, TODAY, July 18th!

And its not just me! Check out my sale first, and then check out the other over 30 sales happening today only - you're sure to find something you'll love. Click any button below to visit a participating sale!

I told you it was going to be big and worthy of the title, "Christmas In July!" Happy shopping and Merry Christmas (in July)!