The Last Holiday Concert, by Andrew Clements! Great Book for the Classroom, Now at a Great Price!

An entertaining and thought-provoking book to use during the holiday time in the classroom is The Last Holiday Concert, by Andrew Clements!

From the Back Cover: 
For Hart Evans, being the most popular kid in sixth grade has its advantages. Kids look up to him, and all the teachers let him get away with anything -- all the teachers except the chorus director, Mr. Meinert. When Hart's errant rubber band hits Mr. Meinert on the neck during chorus practice, it's the last straw for the chorus director, who's just learned he's about to lose his job due to budget cuts. So he tells the class they can produce the big holiday concert on their own. Or not. It's all up to them. And who gets elected to run the show? The popular Mr. Hart Evans. 

Hart soon discovers there's a big difference between popularity and leadership, and to his surprise, discovers something else as well -- it's really important to him that this be the best holiday concert ever, and even more important, that it not be the last.

The Last Holiday Concert is a great book to help students develop great empathy for their teachers and the challenges they face. It also helps students see that things aren't always as easy as they seem and problems may not always have simple solutions.

Right now the December, 5th grade Scholastic Book Order is offering The Last Holiday Concert for only $1! This is a fantastic time to stock up for your classroom library or build up a classroom set for a novel unit study or literature circles!

Head to Scholastic and save today! Work this fantastic, classic children's novel into your classroom this year. You, and your students, will not be sorry!

Please check out my Common Core aligned The Last Holiday Concert Novel Unit Study available in my store.

Why I'm Thankful for TpT

One of my favorite people that I've met through TpT is Miss Giraffe. I really enjoy "talking" with her in the seller forums, or as I call it, my online teachers'  lounge! It was a great pleasure to meet her in person at the conference in Las Vegas last summer! Miss Giraffe has written a wonderful, touching blog post over on her blog, Miss Giraffe's Class, talking about her devotion to her father and how TpT has helped her help him. She has opened it up to all of us as well as the "Why I'm Thankful for TpT Linky Party". Make sure you head over and check out all the stories!

Why I'm Thankful for TpT!

One of my favorite things to do as a teacher was to create and teach novel units. I loved to spark that interest in real, whole books in my students, many reluctant readers who didn't have much access to chapter books. After the birth of my second child, way back in 2003, I came up with the idea of attempting to sell my novel units on Ebay. My goal was to make enough to pay the preschool tuition for my oldest son ($75 month). I was shocked and so pleased that people actually started to buy them. With that interest, The Teaching Bank, was born. Over the years I was able to grow and expand to a couple different websites. With my preschool tuition covered my goals grew, save for a family trip, save for Lasik surgery, be able to provide money for extra curricular costs for my kids, etc. These things were all a blessing and I am so grateful for the small success I had.

In June 2010, all that changed when I found I discovered the site at the (website for planning for Disney trips and just to talk with others who love Disney) of all places. Someone mentioned TpT as being a great place for retired teachers to sell their no longer needed classroom materials. I checked it out and my life changed! TpT gave me a platform to sell my units in a downloadable format. I uploaded my work and the buyers followed. My goals of paying for a Disney trip now changed to being able to pay off car loans and helping to support my family in a real monetary way. Up to this point my earnings were fun money, now I was an equal contributor to the household!

Of course I am thankful to TpT for the monetary contributions to my family, but another, even more wonderful thing has come out of it, pride and a feeling of worth, that I thought was gone for me forever. I was not able to return to teaching after having my children due to a rare hearing loss that had progressed. I truly enjoyed teaching and even though I loved to be home with my kids, I missed the feeling of productivity and contribution that a professional life brings. TpT came into my life at the same time my kids were in school full-time so I was able to devote much more time and in return I have been given such a sense of purpose and pride that even though I am no longer in the classroom on a day to day basis, I am still touching the lives of students all over the world with materials that I created. I have been able to work in the education field creating products that I have a passion for despite my hearing loss, and that is thanks to TpT!

How are you thankful for TpT? Grab Miss Giraffe's graphic above, write your blog post, and join us for the Linky Party over at Miss Giraffe's Class!

Stone Fox! A Great Book to use in the Classroom at Great Savings!

An exciting and heartwarming book to use in the classroom is
Stone Fox, by John Reynolds Gardiner!

From the Back Cover: 
A Race Against Time! 
Little Willy's Grandfather is sick, and it's up to Willy to save their farm from the tax collectors. Their only hope is the prize money from the National Dogsled Race. But a lot of other people want to win the race, including Stone Fox, who has never lost a race in his life. 

Do Willy and his dog, Searchlight stand a chance against the toughest racers around? Can they win the race to save the farm-and Grandfather- before it's too late?

I used this book every year in my 4th grade class. My students have always enjoyed the book with it's heartfelt story, action,  adventure, and lessons on courage and perseverance. It is a great book to draw in reluctant readers.

Right now the November, 4th grade Scholastic Book Order is offering Stone Fox for only $1! This is a fantastic time to stock up for your classroom library or build up a classroom set for a novel unit study or literature circles!

Head to Scholastic and save today! Work this fantastic, classic children's novel into your classroom this year. You, and your students, will not be sorry!

Please check out my Common Core aligned Stone Fox Novel Unit Study available in my store.

From May to September in the Life of a Teacher!


End of May/Early June

First, teachers hear this...

Come July 1st, the comments are more like this:


  Reality starts to hit...
Reality starts to sink in and teachers begin thinking like this...

But then they realize...

Panic sets in...

Days end like this...

And worries of...

Finally a shining light! The HUGE Back to School Sale at Teachers Pay Teachers!!
Everything in The Teaching Bank's store is 20% off! Add code BTS14 at checkout and receive and additional 10% off everything in your cart!

Monday, August 4 - Tuesday, August 5, 2014!

Now teachers can go back to all the warm and fuzzy feelings...

Of course once administration gets involved...

The First Day of School:
All the parents of the world are loving you...

When it all starts over again...

But don't fret, you have the TpT Back to School Sale ready to help! Not only that but TpT and The Teaching Bank will be "Lending Ideas and Saving you Time", providing quality teacher tested resources that will benefit your students and help save your sanity all year long !

My Son is Famous! ;)

My 9 year old son was on the news this morning with his 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Stutzman, from Whitetail Elementary School. Mrs. Stutzman went above and beyond in creating the Wednesday Walkers Club this summer. Through the months of June and July every Wednesday morning we could drop our child off at her house at 8 AM. The group would take a walk around the neighborhood, share their summer adventures, and get some quality fun time with her toddler son. We'd pick them up at 9:30 or she's even drive them home! She went so far above and beyond the classroom and I am so grateful and in awe of her!

Click the link for the video:

Sam is the blond boy in the neon yellow shirt with gray shorts. He was so excited to participate, not just in the news feature, but in the Wednesday Walkers Club all summer. He adores Mrs. Stutzman and she is deserving of every accolade given! She is a fantastic teacher and I am grateful that Sam has her in his life! :)

The Lost Summer?

I can't believe it has been almost 2 months since I wrote a post on my blog! This summer has totally gotten away from me. I had all these plans and a big to-do list for my store: finish my new unit for Where the Red Fern Grows, rework my Alien Text Talk product into task cards, and edit all the product descriptions in my TpT store with some clarifications and links. So, what I have I accomplished? Well, I've made some progress on my Where the Red Fern Grows unit, but it's not ready for publication quite yet. Other than that ZERO!

Why? Summer should be the perfect time to get caught up on all these things right? Wrong! The main thing that has taken priority over my to-do list is my kids!

I thought as they got older and more independent I'd have so much more time. Again, WRONG! I have become the number one (and lowest paid) taxi service in town! My oldest, Joey, is going on 15, he needs rides to baseball practice, baseball games, friend's houses, and Driver's Ed classes (AHHH!) Ally just turned 12, and she too is quite the social butterfly needing to meet friends all over and be taken to sleepover after sleepover! She also has gymnastics several times a week. My youngest, Sam, is 9 and at least he sticks a little closer to home. He was also in baseball and needs near daily rides (with a van full of neighborhood kids) to the local pool!

In between the taxi driving we have vacationed a little this summer. We started off leaving on the last day of school for an Alaskan cruise. I have never visited the Pacific Northwest, Canada, or any area with this type if landscape. It is so unbelievably beautiful coming from the flat plains and cornfields of Nebraska! We sailed out of Vancouver and visited Sitka, Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. It was just an incredible trip!
Vancouver from our verandah.
See Otter in Sitka
The whales in Sitka!
Sawyer Glacier in the Tracy Arm Fjord.
Riding Skagway's White Pass Rail up the Chilkoot Pass to find our gold in the Klondike!

Panning for gold in Skagway!
The glacier fields from the float plane in Juneau.

Riding in a float plane over the glacier fields in Juneau.
The feeding of the bald eagles from the Aleutian Ballad in Ketchikan. This was phenomenal having them swooping all around. There were at least 50 or more!

Catching some crab on the Deadliest Catch's Aleutian Ballad in Ketchikan.

My "Alaskan Look"!

It was an amazing vacation. Great family time and we all learned and saw so much!

With TpT founder, Paul Edelman
After returning there was a lot of baseball and driving everyone everywhere for a good month until I got to escape to go to the Teachers Pay Teacher conference in Las Vegas! Even though I consider myself kind of a veteran seller, being at TpT since 2010, and selling my resources since 2003, I still learned so many valuable things, and of course added to my too log to-do list! I attended sessions conducted by Deanna Jump, DeeDee Wills, Rachel Lynette, Mel Dillard, and the TpT data guru, Ryan. The keynote speech by Paul, Deanna, and John Woo, were fantastic too. The best part of the day was meeting so many of the people that I have been conversing with in the TpT forums for all this time. To put a face to a name/logo was wonderful and I met many new people too!

Meeting TpT star, Deanna Jump!
Getting the promised hug from Paul!

View from our room on the 35th floor!

The TpT conference was on Friday, July 11th, so my husband made the trip with me to make it a long weekend. We enjoyed the dining, ambiance, and the pool at the conference hotel, The Palazzo. We also saw the Cirque du Soleil show Mystere which was fantastic!

Drove over to the Hoover Dam for a tour. Stopped on the way in Boulder, NV at The Coffee Cup restaurant that was featured in Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and had a great Bloody Mary with bacon!

The Hoover Dam

The stairs going up inside the Hoover Dam. Glad we were able to take the elevator!
The view from the Dam of the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Bridge

As soon as we returned from Vegas we packed up and headed to Pickerel Lake, in northern South Dakota with my extended family. We had a great week of fishing, boating, swimming, sitting by the bonfire, and eating way too much!

My dogs, Katy and Hurley, keeping an eye on the bobbers for us.

Katy resting a bit on her bobber watching duty.
We're finally back and now there are less than 2 weeks until school starts! So I guess my "Summer To-Do" list now becomes my "Fall To-Do" list! Even though it hasn't been the most productive summer work-wise, it was a very productive summer for family bonding and lifetime experiences. I know which is more valuable in the grand scheme of things and I am so grateful for how fortunate I am to have these experiences and memories!

I promise to get the When the Red Fern Grows Novel Unit finished up soon and to start creating those Alien Text Talk Task Cards! Please "like" and watch my Facebook page or "follow" my TpT store for notice when they are released!

I hope you have been blessed to have a summer as "lost" and productive as mine! Enjoy your remaining days and happy back-to-school planning!