Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Teacher Calendar & Planner

Oh my goodness, I am SO happy with how this came out, but I am also SO glad to be done working on it. It was a labor of love that's for sure. Thanks to the girls organizing the TPT Seller Challenge, I was motivated to finish it early on this week!
(Hint: Make sure you stick around for the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post!!)

I have used an Erin Condren teacher planner for the past two years. I really love the size, color and many things about it, but I never used the entire thing. I always had good intentions about using those lesson plan pages in the back, and would sometimes even remember to fill it out. But, it was a lot of money to spend for so much wasted space. Plus, there were things I would have loved to have in the planner that weren't offered. After searching the internet this summer for a perfect planner, I realized I would need to make one myself if I truly wanted it to have everything I need! So it began...

Let me start by saying that if you are looking for an actual lesson planner to write your plans in, this is probably not for you! I used to team plan and we would type our plans into a Word Document. At my new school, we submit them online. So, I have never been looking for a planner where I hand-write all of my lesson plans...I don't know how some of you do it!! I wanted something I could take to and from and around school that would have EVERYTHING I could need.

Here's a little glimpse of what I came up with (so far! I know I'll be thinking of more pages to add over the next few weeks.)

This shows the front and back covers (the front cover is editable so you can include your name). I included all of these "extra" pages at the front of my planner. There's a spot for classroom information, birthdays & holidays, a place to quickly map out the school year, a place to set some teaching goals, keep your passwords in order (important!) and sheets to record IEP goals and accommodations. If you are a blogger and TPT seller, I also included pages to brainstorm! I would constantly think of product ideas throughout the school day last year, so this way it will all be in one place for me and not on sticky notes that get lost in my purse. :)

Ahh, the calendar pages...one of my most used sections! Every month has a two-page spread...perfect for jotting down important events or even quickly mapping out curriculum. After each month, there are 4 to 5 weekly planner sheets (depending on how many weeks there are in that month!). This is perfect for jotting down to-do lists and any change in your normal schedule. I'm excited to have this in one place also...normally I'm making multiple to-do lists every week and losing them! There are also extra note pages after these weekly snapshot pages. Of course, if you don't need certain pages, you can customize it to make it your own!

These are the sheets I ended up including in the back of my planner (once again, you can put yours together however you like!). I am SO excited about the Parent Communication Log sheets. All of my student and parent contact information will be at my fingertips and it will make it super easy to log important communication with them. The checklist pages are something I always use to track homework or field trip forms. And of course, every teacher needs LOTS of notes pages. It includes half-sheet pages for taking notes during meetings, pages to take notes on professional development books you read, and just plain ole' note pages!

I've already had mine printed, just need to laminate the covers, add tabs, and get it bound! That will be a separate blog post. :) Here's a quick look at what it looks like printed!


If you're interested, you can grab it here!
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Colorful-Teacher-Binder-Calendar-Planner-1929360

I'm also giving a copy away for FREE as well as a $15 Staples gift card that can go towards the cost of getting the planner printed and bound!! Enter to win! :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Job Hunting Tips for Teachers

Well, I never formally announced it on the blog, but my husband and I just made a big move! We are now living in NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE!! We were both born and raised in Orlando, and just wanted to try something different for a little bit. So far, we are loving it! However, I'm still on the hunt for a teaching job up here. I wanted to share some tips that I've learned along the way...this has truly been quite the process.

If you're even thinking about moving or searching for another job, start updating your resume here and there. It is NO fun to update it all at one time. By keeping it updated, you're preparing to begin job searching at anytime. Plus, the more times you are editing it, the more likely you are to catch spelling and grammatical errors, which is a huge plus.


Transferring a teaching license is a pain, y'all! First and foremost, check out your new state's licensing requirements. It would be a huge bummer to move across the country only to find out you need a Master's degree to teach in that state, which you may not have. I suggest calling the state's Education department and explaining your situation and qualifications, just to double check that your teaching license will transfer smoothly. Once you know it will, begin getting the paperwork together right away. I had to get paperwork filled out by my prior district's offices, and it took awhile...so again, don't delay!

No one wants to see another resume in Times New Roman font. Don't get too crazy here, we definitely need to keep it professional. But by dressing it up a little bit, you're going to get future principals to notice and remember your resume, which is GOOD. I grabbed this resume template from Tori Gorosave's TPT store, she has a lot of creative yet professional templates to choose from.

Don't limit yourself to applying to just one district! Make sure you thoroughly research all of the surrounding districts in the area you're moving to. Ask around and find out which ones teachers enjoy working for. I applied for 3 different districts when we moved to Fort Myers, and am currently applying to 3 districts here in Nashville as well. Yes, it takes a.lot.of.time to fill out all of those district applications, but remember you are upping your chances for finding job opportunities this way!

Once again, I know this takes SO much time to do, but it can make the biggest difference in a principal deciding whether to contact you for an interview or not. Research the school, and try to include points about their mission and beliefs in your cover letter to show why you're a good fit for their school. Of course, be truthful! Make sure your cover letter also conveys your passion for teaching and strengths in the classroom.


I wish I could say I didn't speak from experience on this one. But one time right after I hit "Send" on an email to a principal, I realized I forgot to change the name on the email (it was the name of the last principal I'd emailed). Big OOPS. Not surprisingly, I never heard back from her. Don't make the same silly mistakes...always read through an email or cover letter before sending it. Double check that you've spelled their name correctly, the school's name correctly, etc. Even pay attention to something as silly as saying "Good morning" when you're emailing at 3:00 in the afternoon. Pay attention to those details!

I have heard some districts highly frown upon potential candidates contacting principals themselves. So please make sure you read up on the district's policies first. However, if it is encouraged, then by all means DO IT! It's a great idea to send personal emails to the principals at schools you want to work at, but even better to go in and hand deliver your resume. This sets you apart from the hundreds of resumes they're seeing on the district's website. Even though you may not hear back from some, keep in mind that they just may be holding onto your resume for when they have a new opening. This has happened to me a few times.

Let as many people as you can know that you are looking for a teaching job in your new district or city. Share it on Facebook, many people know someone who knows someone, so you are likely to find some sort of contact this way. I was able to get in contact with teachers in Nashville districts just because friends on Facebook put me in touch with them. Once we moved in, I was telling my neighbor about my job search. The very next day she knocked on my door to tell me she'd just heard about an opening up the street at her son's school that wasn't even posted yet. For goodness sake, even the guy at Home Depot had plenty of advice to give me on school districts around here once we got to talking. You truly never know the connections you will find, so talk to anyone you can!!

Perhaps the hardest tip of all. I'm sure my husband would tell you that I do my best to stay positive about my job search, but it's not always easy. It's hard to email dozens of principals and never hear back. It's hard to go and rock an interview, and then find out you didn't get the job.I've cried a few times here and there, because it can be so darn stressful and frustrating. BUT, I remember that I've gone through this before 2 years ago when we moved to Fort Myers, and guess what?! I ended up exactly where I was supposed to. There were a few jobs I didn't get that I wanted, and I was seriously stressed all summer, but I ended up getting a position at a school I loved, and working with a team of women I loved even more. So, try to stay positive, because you WILL end up exactly where you are meant to teach!

Are you job hunting right now?! Leave me a message and let me know how it's going for you...do you have any tips that I missed? Check back later this week for a post on Prepping for the Interview!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare to Dream

I am so excited to be participating in the TPT Seller Challenge this summer. I was in a lull for awhile and this challenge has really kicked me back in gear! Week 1 was all about making over an old product...I redid my Comparing Numbers task cards (one of my very first TPT babies), and it desperately needed a little lovin.

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Comparing-Numbers-Task-Cards-670390
Get it half off (only 75 cents!) for the next week by clicking here!

I'm also loving Week 2's challenge: blog about your dreams for your TPT store. Without further ado, here's mine...


Since I first started creating resources for TPT, my goal has always been to save ALL of it up to take my hubby to Australia. He's always wanted to go, and he's been working his butt off through Physician's Assistant school for the past two years. I figured that since most likely his salary will be paying for most of our vacations for the rest of our lives, I wanted to be able to take him to Australia as a graduation gift. Of course, he graduates in August which is right when the school year starts back up for me, but we are planning on going within the next year...all thanks to TPT! We are so grateful!

After our Australia trip is all said and done, we're planning to save, save, save to buy a house one day. We just moved to Nashville a week ago and are planning on hanging out here for a couple of years before we finally settle down and buy something. We are also always dreaming about going back to Europe, going to Alaska, going to the World Cup, etc. We would love to be able to travel and see as much as we possibly can!

Last, as cheesy as it sounds, I love that TPT is all about sharing resources with other teachers. It is the best feeling to be able to create something that other teachers are looking for or are able to incorporate into their classroom. I get a thrill from sharing resources with my teammates and seeing them used in their classrooms, so it is AWESOME that TPT allows us to share resources with fellow teachers all over the WORLD!!! It's definitely a fulfilling gig that happens to be so fun at the same time! :)

What are your dreams for your TPT store? And if you don't have one, think about what your dreams are and how TPT can help you accomplish those dreams...you have absolutely nothing to lose!