Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year and New Resolve

Can you believe that we are at the end of 2013? It is really hard to grasp all that has taken place this past year. 2013 has been marked with many changes as I have mentioned in my previous post.

New... different... change... new...

This has been my life. During the transition,  we lived out of suitcases and were barely able to keep up with everyone's schedules. My job, house hunting,  the girls' schooling, sports...  my hubby and I did our best to maintain some sense of routine in the chaos.

Now we are on the other side and are so looking forward to 2014. It is my hope that I will be intentional this year about my goals and about my home.

I would like to build my business and continue blogging. I have missed it so much while I have been moving.

I would also like to try new teaching  techniques in my classroom that would encourage learning and expand my own experience. 

Lastly, and more importantly, I would like to be intentional about building the foundation of my home on Christ and fostering a loving atmosphere among my family of five.

What would you like to be intentional about this year?

Bring on 2014! Happy New Year's Ever everyone from my family to yours!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Beginnings = New Multiplication Pack... I'm Back!

Hello, friends! No, I have not fallen off the face of the earth. :) Life has been full of new things since I accepted my new job back in August... Let me just run through it a bit:

New home...

          New state...

                  New church...

                              New job...

New... new... new...

Wowzers!! These past few months have left my world reeling and my mind spinning. Not long after I got my new job as a third grade teacher, my husband and I felt the need to move closer as we lived an hour and a half away. We began to look around and God started opening doors for us. We found a new church (first priority), then found a home (cutest evah!). We next began the transition of resigning from pastoral ministry and have been praying about where my hubby will land. As of right now, we are operating on one income and praying for provision. Unfortunately, I have not had internet service throughout much of this transition so blogging has been relegated to the corner.

"But nobody puts Baby in the corner!" (You knew that was coming.) :)

So, I am excited to be back and I have begun to create new resources that I am using in my own third grade classroom. I am proud to introduce my first multiplication pack that has been exciting to use for my class. I needed a multiplication system to implement in my room that would display the students' progress, provide quizzes and a way to support students as they study. My team decided to use bookmarks for students to study. They keep the bookmark in their AR book on the corner of their desk so they always have two options when they have finished an activity early. Students take quizzes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If they pass, they receive a new bookmark to study. They can also progress along a bulletin board. I have included a bulletin board set for you to use in each pack.

Because I LOVE themes, I have included two separate looks: Football and Beach! Here is a peek at what all you will receive:

Just click on either picture to take a look at the packs in my store. :) I hope you enjoy it and it makes multiplication mastery something fun and exciting in your classroom!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Crickets and Classrooms

Hi, friends! I am having to post from my phone as my internet is down and I have been unable to get on this past week. Ugh.. I have so much to share with you as I have been working hard on getting ready for my third grade class on Tuesday. I thought you might enjoy a few pictures. Here are a few before and after shots. It was a conference room on Tuesday and a classroom on Friday! Check them out! :)

Also, don't forget about the Back to School Sale that starts tomorrow and runs through Monday!!! Use the coupon code BTS13 for 28% off everything in my store!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Come again? I'm hired?!

Welp, friends! I am jumping on to my little corner of cyber world to explain some life changing, earth moving news for my family. Let me just share with you my past week in a nutshell!

Tuesday evening, my hubby and I were driving around my his jeep on a few dirt roads while discussing our goals for the next few years.We both came to the conclusion that maybe I should send an email and "just see" about a teaching position. This would help us meet the goals that we have for our family. I already knew the principal and just shot her an email at around 8:00 Tuesday night. She responded to my email within 30 minutes to let me know there were positions open and to pass along the contact information in order to proceed.

The next morning, I called the personnel director's secretary who immediately sent me to the director himself. I chatted with him for a bit and he encourage me to come on down to the office to fill out some paperwork. Within the hour I had my paperwork filled out and I was on the roster for an 8:00 interview the next morning!

I went home with a few things to do to prepare for the interview and in the mean time, began to contact private schools in the area for the girls "just in case." The one I wanted had "just enough room." Coincidence? I think not! The next morning, I had a terrific interview and found out that afternoon that I would be teaching third grade at the school I was hoping for as it has an awesome Pre-K program for my youngest. I next called the private school and got that finalized! Of course, this summary leaves out the thought processes that I endured through that 48 hours but you can see how the pieces fell together so quickly that I am now doing the mamba trying to get everything ready to go!

My family will definitely be blessed by this turn of events that I can only describe as God's wonderful handiwork. Now, to say that my Pinterest has been blown away with third grade pins and my wish list on TPT has grown would be an understatement!

My family will definitely be blessed by this turn of events that I can only describe as God's wonderful handiwork. smileNow, to say that my TPT cart has EXPLODED getting ready for back to school would be an understatement!! lol I am now a third grade teacher! Wowzers! I went from a homeschooling Mom on Tuesday with no thoughts of getting back in the public classroom, to a third grade teacher on Thursday with Meet the Teacher in a week! O.o  For those who also teach third, I would love to connect! Would you like to follow along with my 3rd Grade pinterest finds? Follow along here!

I am soo excited to be in third as a bulk of my experience is in first. Any advice? Lol

Thursday, August 1, 2013

{NEW} 7th Grade Common Core Resources

Hello, friends! I have been working my little fingers off trying to finish up Common Core resources that have been requested. My latest pack deals with 7th Grade and had been requested some time ago. It has been on my to-do list slowly making its way to the top and I am ready to unveil the completed product!

This 7th Grade pack includes Common Core checklists for easy reference as well as assessment records that you can use per student or per class. You use these records to notate dates of instruction, assessment and remediation for each strand. You will also find posters to post on your wall or board that will note the strand being taught during that lesson. In a few of the packs, you will see planning pages that help you to plan or track your lessons. Here are the completed packs!  (Just click on any of the pictures to see it in my TPT store!)

This one was a doozy for 7th Grade ELA!

This pack is for 7th Grade Math.

And, here is 7th Grade Reading!

If you would like to purchase all three areas, you can buy the MEGA Bundle for additional savings. In this pack, you will receive all of the pages shown above!

Have a fantastic day!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Princesses, Play-doh, Painting and Parties...

Hello, everyone! What do all of the wonderful things in my title have in common? They were all a part of my baby girl's 4th birthday!

We spent the past couple of days celebrating with my youngest on this latest milestone. We had what we called "Lillee's Best Day Ever!" and celebrated with a Tangled (Rapunzel) theme. We bounced at Jumping Jack's (a kid's zone full of bounce houses) and then headed to her birthday zone. There was a princess painting station and jewelry making station. She opened presents and then played with each one. She received a complete Rapunzel outfit from Mom and Dad so she had a blast dressing up and playing tea party! She even received a princess castle play-doh activity set. So much fun! Here a few pics:

Love my sweet girl!

In other news, we have a winner at Learning 4 Keeps Design! Head on over and check it out! :) Have a fantastic day!

Friday, July 26, 2013

{NEW} Back to School FREEBIE!

Hello, everyone!

Today, I will be sharing a FREEBIE with you that would be perfect for Back to School! I would use it at an Open House or Meet the Teacher night. This is what you will find included:

I have included two welcome signs. One that encourages parents to sign in and one to welcome the class of 2013/2014! I also included a cute table top sign that can be placed beside the parent sign in form. You will also receive a Parent Interview form that will have parents fill in their child's information, contact information, their child's transportation, and more. 

For the students, you will receive a student interview form that asks what they think about the brand new year and a classroom hunt game! Here is how it works! Give each child a Classroom Hunt Gameboard. It looks like this:
At each place mentioned on the gameboard, place a sticker for each child to collect. The students then explore the room and attach their stickers to their gameboard. After collecting all stickers, they bring the chart to you for a special prize! This could be a surprise of any kind!

I hope you enjoy the pack and it is something you can use! Click here to see it in my TPT store!

Freebie Fridays

Thursday, July 25, 2013

It's A Launch Partay! Free Blog Design Giveaway!

Hi, all! I have some super exciting, over the moon news: my newest expansion Learning 4 Keeps Design is officially open! {Whoop, whoop} To celebrate I am having an official Launch Partay!

Head on over by clicking the picture above or just click here for your chance to enter! My design blog will be a place to share digital freebies and tips on how to make your Blogger site a bit fancier! I hope that you will visit and join the adventure!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

{NEW} Common Core Resources for Middle School

Hello, all! I have been so excited this week as I have been working on re-organizing and revamping Learning 4 Keeps. It seems that it has been growing too large to keep all in one place so I have been working to organize it into categories so that those who follow will be able to find what they are looking for! Please excuse the shifting, moving, revamping in the mean time! ;) I hope it will all make sense soon.

In other news, I have been working diligently on teacher resources for a new year. My newest packs will reach mainly public school teachers as they involve the Common Core standards. I have had quite a few requests to expand my Common Core packs to the Middle school grades. You asked and I want to deliver!

Here are a few new resources that I already have available in my store:
This pack includes all of the posters, checklists and assessment records for 6th grade. This is a HUGE pack! I also have each of my subject available separately:

One customer said of these Common Core packs- "I think it would be easier if I stayed with one seller for common core checklists, assessments, posters etc. You are it. I like the organization you have put into it." -tielsa

Another writes- "These are clear statements of the standards in kid-friendly language that are perfect to post as learning targets. Saves me the time of writing so much each day! Thanks!" -michellemurray

I am so glad to hear that these packs save teachers time and effort! There seems to be a never ending to-do list that only seems to grow with each passing year of legislation! I did  have a special request to work on 7th grade so here it is!

Each pack is also available in individual packs:

I hope you all have a fantastic day! I noticed on Facebook today that there are already students headed back to school in some parts of the nation. Wow!! Summer flew by quickly! Would this be any of you? 

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Another Awesome Linky Party!

Hi, friends! While I have been working on the launch of a brand new digital design business, I did want to share with you a great linky party going on at Common to the Core!! Check it out!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Let's Get Organized Linky Party!

Hello, friends! This week we have been discussing how to get organized for a new year. I shared tips on creating a teacher binder, cleaning out your space and arranging your room! Today, I would love to hear your ideas! Simply create a new post or grab an old one with your great organizational ideas and link it up here. You can even share your must have organization product for a new year.  Next, grab the button to share on your post. All there will be left to do is grab a pen and paper to write down all of the fabulous ideas that you can use! All of the links will be pinned to the Learning 4 Keeps Pinterest board to save for the future! Let's link up!

Learning 4 Keeps
<div align="center"><a href="http://www.learning4keeps.net" title="Learning 4 Keeps"><img src="http://i1074.photobucket.com/albums/w401/learning4keeps/linkyparty_zpse911ac08.jpg" alt="Learning 4 Keeps" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Using Stations to Organize Your Classroom

Hi, friends! Yesterday we discussed cleaning out our space and Tuesday we talked about the importance of a Teacher Binder. Today, we are going to talk about preparing your room. To do this, I would suggest thinking of your room in stations. Creating stations can help so much in your endeavor to organize and create a flow. Here is an idea of how I would work to arrange my room for the beginning of the year. Perhaps you have a different method! I hope you will share them tomorrow for our Let's Get Organized Linky Party!

First. begin by creating a reference station: this includes a filing cabinet and shelving to hold curriculum, reference materials, and files. This station would work best in a place off limits to the kiddos, ideally, near your workstation. I don't know about you but I always hated walking across the room to grab that file for my lesson plans at my computer. It is a time stealer and annoyance at best. One idea might be making your desk out of a kidney shaped table that can be used for group instruction! This will open up space in your room by getting rid of the large "teacher desk" and allow you to work with your students while near your references. It can really help to streamline your room!

Next, begin working on supply stations. This entails two aspects: student supplies that they needed to access quickly (scissors, glue, rulers) and classroom supplies used throughout the year (kleenex and ziploc bags). 
  • For student supplies, I have used several options. I have placed an extra desk in the middle of 8 desks to form a rectangular group. I would then have a container on the center desk that held their rulers, markers, a single box of tissue, etc. This makes all supplies accessible to all students. If space was a hindrance, I might create a shelf with small handled containers or baskets to hold the organized supplies. Each one would be labeled for their group and I would assign Supply Managers to take charge in supplying their group with supplies should the need arise.
  • For classroom supplies, my method would be determined by the type of storage space available to me. One year I used a shelf in the small hallway leading to the bathroom in my room. Another year I used labeled tubs and placed them below tables down a wall. They can easily be hidden by tablecloths. :) One year I was amazingly blessed with fabulous cabinets down one wall so this afforded me plenty of storage. One tip is to place these supplies in a place that your students can reach. You can then assign a student as Classroom Monitor. Their job would be to replace any supplies such as hand sanitizer or kleenex when it runs out!

 The next station would be work stations. This is where the magic happens. :) Well, that is what we hope for anyway. Student desks and your main area of instruction would be in this station. 
  • Some prefer to sit in a rocker with students sitting around on the floor using small whiteboards. In this case, the main work station would be in an open area perhaps with all of the student desks creating a large U around it. Just make sure you plan storage for any materials that you will need. There are a lot of different options out there! I might suggest finding some with wheels. This makes your supplies portable should you want to move around a bit. Also, don't forget wall space! You can hang bins or baskets by attaching a study paper towel holder. Or, if you have those terrible block walls... ugh... you can buy a small freestanding drying rack (you know the ones to dry your clothes on when your camping), place your supplies in oversized ziploc bags and use pants hangers to hang them up. This makes supplies like calendar numbers or flashcards easy to find.
  • Other teachers  prefer to stand in front of a board for instruction. In this case, student desks would need to be turned so no one's back is to the board, if possible. If this is not possible due to the space, simply teach a "chair routine" to your students the first week that will solve this problem. Magnetic hooks and utilizing the space under the board with supplies helps to organize this space. I would often use an extra student desk to create a small storage area for my curriculum books and supplies I needed at the board. 

Now to the famous question, how should I set up my student desks? I have used many methods for student desk arrangements and I have to say, it all depends on the class! In some cases, my students would thrive in a group arrangement, such as 6 desks facing each other creating a rectangle. However, there have been times when my student's behavior did not warrant groupings such as these. In these cases, I would still have "groups" for classroom management, but I would have the desks sit side by side in a row. Again, it all depends on the group that I have. It also depends on the space. It always looked like musical chairs in my room before school starts because I would move, rearrange, move again, and rearrange trying to maximize the space. Have fun with it and don't be afraid to try something new.

Lastly, consider your center stations. After setting up all of the before mentioned stations, I would begin to make a plan for centers. There have been years that I had plenty of space and tables for these stations but more often than not, I was forced to think outside of the box. Here are a few ideas to make your centers portable throughout your room.
  • Hula hoops or sample carpets are great ways for students to create their own center space on the floor. They just grab a center pack (perhaps in a manila folder or envelope) and then find a spot!
  • Portable cleaning caddies can be used to hold a few CD's and a few players for a listening center. 
  • For my reading center, I allowed students to find a spot anywhere! I would find them in corners, on their bellies under their desk, or sometimes even perched on a table top. (I know... bad teacher.) But the students loved it and it created an atmosphere of reading. 
  • Small lap-desks or eating trays can be utilized for individual writing stations.
Well, I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of my organizational tips for a new year. Maybe you have a few organizational ideas that you could share! Post about it and link up tomorrow on our Let's Get Organized linky party! Each post will be added to my Organization Pinterest Board for future reference. I am sure you have so many wonderful ideas to share and I can't wait to hear them! See you then!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Tips to Cleaning Out Your Classroom {Let's Get Organized: Part Two}

Hello, friends! Today, we will continue our series on getting organized for a new school year. Recently, I was helping a friend clean out their space to get ready for a brand new and exciting year. As we worked, I was reminded of how we as educators like to keep EVERYTHING because we "may use it later." I remember keeping a shelf of resources  stuff  junk (there is really no other way to say it) that I never touched but couldn't seem to bring myself to do anything about it! I thought I would share a few tips on how to reorganize the clutter for a brand new year!

1.  Be brutally honest! 

This may seem a bit strange but sometimes we just need to be brutally honest with ourselves. It is step number one in cleaning out your space. Are we really going to use that box of copy paper? Now, before you answer in the affirmative, let me explain that this kind of paper is the type to be threaded into the old printer machines. You know the type: wide pages and strips of holes down each side. Yep! That box... the one that has taken up space in the bottom corner of the bottom shelf because we just KNEW we would use it... like 6 years ago. That box...

In this situation, I would explain the value of space. Space, especially storage space, is a hot commodity in a classroom. There seems to never be enough of it, especially when we fill the room with little bodies and their mountains of supplies. See each shelf and cabinet as valuable! Seek to maximize each area with something that will benefit you or your kiddos. If that paper is something you truly want to use (it can come in handy for art activities!) take the paper OUT of the BOX and place it on the art shelf. This will ensure that you see it and use it. It then becomes valuable.

2.  Create a few piles! 

When going through a cabinet, closet or shelf, create a few piles to organize what you have. I begin by placing my must haves in a stack. These are my current teacher manuals and curriculum resources. As I begin to sort the rest of my things, I place anything I find of most importance into this stack.

Next, I create a want to use stack. This might be items like project ideas (say from TPT lol) that I would like to use that year! This would be filed in binders or placed in hanging files. Personally, I would organize these resources by month of use. For instance, my Valentine projects or printables would be placed in a February folder or binder. 

This leads me to another tip, go through the paperwork! Those files in the cabinet are of no use to you if you don't know it is there! Do yourself a favor and take an afternoon to go through it. It is a mundane task that easily becomes exciting when you stumble on a project that you haven't thought about for two years! While going through paper work, here is a neat trick: keep one of those portable hanging files and a box of manila folders next to you.  Label the manila folders by month, holiday, or subject; whatever is logical for you. As you clean out the cabinet, store one copy of any finds in this bin and place the remaining copies in a corresponding file in your filing cabinet. This bin could then be kept on or near your desk and would give you a quick reference as to what you have filed away in that huge cabinet.

Now, back to our piles! Next, create a cool but not practical pile. You know, the old teacher manuals or blackline masters that teach skills in a very different way. At one time, I had old blackline master books fill an entire shelf that I never had the time to use. They were my personal books that I had picked up through the years. These just took up space, which again is valuable! Take a moment to follow tip #1 and then take the next step: donate them to someone who CAN use them. Give them to parents of a child who is struggling with a skill. Let them work together through the book at home. See if the specialists in your school could use them or perhaps other teachers. Give them to homeschool co-ops or groups in your area. Tutoring programs could even use them! Make your goal a simple one: place resources into hands that will use them, even if they are not your own.

3.  Don't be afraid to use the big round can that we affectionately call the trash can!

Lastly, create that junk pile; better yet, just keep the garbage can handy. Purge yourself of stuff that nobody can use. That bin of markers that you have had on the art supply shelf all year. Yeah, the one that students have to go through five markers before finding one that even remotely writes! Dump it and move on! That stack of construction paper that has faded, changed colors, been ripped down the side... dump it and move on! Again, space is valuable

4. Don't forget the little things.

Many times we focus on the big things that aren't organized, closets for example. However, many times our stress is induced from the little things! Cluttered desk drawers have made me want to beat my head against a wall more times that I can count! Whether it means using a silverware drawer for your pens, pencils and markers or even placing small bins inside your drawers, find ways to organize the little things. Pinterest is a fabulous resource for this as so many wonderful professionals have found great ways to get their personal space organized. Don't forget about all of those important forms! This is where a Teacher Binder comes in handy. I wrote about the all important Teacher Binder yesterday in Let's Get Organized: Part One. 

5.  Don't keep too many personal items in your room.

When I began teaching, I wanted to make my classroom my home away from home. My desk had three framed pictures with a cutesy lamp and decorations. It was about day three that I realized, this will not work! You see, I quickly found out that my job was just that... a job! Paperwork, books, parent contacts, student folders, lunch money... these are just a few things that floated across my desk. Pictures got lost in the shuffle and my desk felt crowded! It was then I decided to find other ways to remember my kiddos and their handsome daddy. I created a slideshow to play across my screen during inactivity. I had a small board that I placed magnetic frames for cute sayings that I loved. Decoration can be added with colorful cloth around the table or desk but I didn't need to use the top shelf of my room like I would a decorative ledge in my home! Again, space is valuable

I also found that I needed help with all of those precious pictures and gifts from my kiddos. Here are a few ideas on what to do with them and cut down on clutter. 
  • Snap a picture with the gift and gift giver! Scrapbook it and keep the memory. 
  • Use push pins to attach a few page protectors to a bulletin board behind your desk. Then simply choose a different student's artwork (perhaps the student of the week?) to place in that page protector. You could then file the old pages away as you replace them. This honors the students for their kindness and helps to eliminate the wall of pictures that are taped across the wall in no apparent order.
  • Do you have tip? We would love to hear them!

I want to leave you with this thought: clutter causes stress, stress causes anxiety, and anxiety makes for a cluttered teaching mind which leads to... you guessed it! More clutter! A cluttered room becomes a time stealer and a space snatcher. So let's take the time now to declutter and prepare for a smooth new year! Tomorrow, I will be continuing this series on Let's Get Organized by explaining how to organize your room into stations!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

{NEW} Teacher Binder Resources (Let's Get Organized: Part One)

Hello, friends! This week I am kicking off a new series on Let's Get Organized! You will find resources, ideas, tips, and techniques to get your classroom ready for a new adventure. Make sure to come back each day this week and then join up with a fun organizational linky party on Friday to share your tips!

Today is all about getting the teacher organized utilizing a teacher binder. This binder can be one large one or even a group of smaller binders. You can use cute dividers to break up your sections of forms, grades, lesson plans, and more. The great thing about binders instead of those little books from the teacher store is that you can add to or take away! You make it what you need it to be. Place them on your shelf or across your desk for quick reference. There is no better feeling than knowing exactly where a form is when a parent or principal is waiting on you to deliver it.

A teacher binder has been my project today and all I have to say is: somebody stop me! It has been on my to-do list for about a month and and I am happy to say that I have finally finished! I have created it so far in three different themes and oh..my..goodness... They are so much fun! They have anywhere from 100-125 pages. They include cover pages, forms, charts, grade sheets, attendance records, lesson plan forms, calendars... the list goes on! Take a peek and just click the link for a better look!

Last, but not least:

Tomorrow, we will continue our theme on organization by discussing how to CLEAN OUT what you already have. Have you ever just looked around your room and thought about striking a match? Too much paper, too much clutter, just TOO MUCH! Check back in tomorrow for some tips and tricks for taking charge of the clutter. See you then!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Behavior, How Do You Manage?

Hi, friends! I am linking up with The First Grade Parade for Throwback Thursday. Today I thought I would share a post on classroom behavior management. 

**********Orignally Posted September 18, 2012***********

Hello, friends! My topic today will be about behavior management! I confess that over the years teaching, I used several different methods. The "pull a card" method was my first, a little old but it was effective. I also created a "Take Five" method that used popsicle sticks and miniature hand stickers: fun and when I was consistent, very effective! Isn't that always the secret? Consistency...

Anyhoo, today there are many more great ideas out there to manage the classroom and many focus on reinforcing positive behavior rather than just punishing negative behaviors. So, I began to do a little research and created a behavior pack that I think you will like! It is based on the vertical behavior clipchart that so many are using! I thought that I would make it cutesy so I went with an adorable owl theme! For serious! This is one my favorites out of the items I have ever created. Evah! What do you think?

This pack includes decorative signs to encourage good choices! It also has seven circles that can be printed on cardstock, laminated and attached to a vertical ribbon strand or board. The student's names are written on clothespins and all begin on the Ready to Learn circle. The student's can move up the circles to Star Student  by choosing good behaviors throughout the day. They can also move down the circles to allow students to track their behavior and make better choices. 

A cause and effect chart is also included to explain the consequences of moving down the chart. 

Notecards have been included that can be stapled to homework or included in their homework folders that will let the parent know their child's behavior and a record form is also included for you to notate a child's behavior throughout the week. This could be used for every child or perhaps just the children that you feel needs a record of behavior for parent conferences or meetings. (I am sure a face popped into your head as soon as I said that!)   ;)

You can take a gander at it by visiting my TPT store! Just click the link below. Happy Blogging!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

And the Winners Are...

Hello, friends! Check out my big news for the day:
Woohoo!! I am so excited about this special day because I could never have dreamed the blessings this path would take me when I began a year ago. I have met wonderful parents, teachers, professionals and READERS. You guys are fabulous and I am humbled to have you join the journey. (I am also excited about the winners of the Giveaway Extravaganza! You will find that below!)

I thought I would celebrate today by taking a glance back at my very first post. It was suitably titled: New Beginnings...

Hi there! My name is Leah and I have embarked on a new journey in bloggersville. Education and learning have been a passion of mine for many years... since I was old enough to hold a book. I was the student who could not WAIT for school to start back each year. I loved everything about a new year including the smell of my brand new textbooks and the sounds of my school hallways. There was nothing more exciting than packing my new backpack with all of my new school supplies. In fact, I would rearrange their placement in my backpack a half dozen times to get it "just right!" Books were my best friends and I wear corrective lenses today because I couldn't put one down once I had started. Darkness was just an inconvenience that could be fixed with a window and a moon or a flashlight under the covers. Okay I admit it, I am still this way. :)

My journey through education has taken a few twists and turns. I began as a student of Elementary Education before receiving my degree and certification for the Florida Department of Education. I worked in the public school system for several years before my health caused me to reprioritize my life. As a result, I became a stay at home mom to two beautiful daughters. During this time, I decided to use the passion I have for learning and my training to teach my own children. I now homeschool my girls and it has been one of the greatest yet most challenging choices I have ever made. 

My family has now grown to three beautiful girls and we are preparing for a brand new year! I have decided to create a blog that focuses on techniques and resources the promotes knowledge retention. As I have a K-3, 3rd grader and 6th grader this year, these resources will span many different grades. Perhaps you are a homeschool parent or a teacher, I hope that you can find something that will be useful or interesting. Maybe it will just spark your own creative juices! I have found that teachers are the most creative and resourceful people in the world!

A season of new beginnings is an opportunity to be stretched, to grow, and to change. Though "change" has never been a popular word in my vocabulary (as I am a creature of habit) I have learned that growth naturally equals change. As an elementary teacher or even a mother, I would be so frustrated if a student remained unchanged from the beginning of the year to the end! So, here I am embracing this new season and I look forward to sharing it with you... Leah

How cool is it that I still get to use my passions today that have been within my entire life! :)

And now on to other BIG news:  Drum roll please! Here are the winners for my Giveaway Extravaganza!

Congratulations to all the winners! You will be hearing from me soon. Also, a BIG thank you to the many wonderful TPT stores who so generously donated their product and for each one of YOU who took part! Here's to another year! May it be as exciting as the first!

Monday, July 8, 2013

{NEW} Learning 4 Keeps Blog Designs!

Hello, friends! Before I begin, I have to ask... have you entered my Bloggyversary giveaway? The prizes are out of this world thanks to fabulous TPT buddies. Click the link below to check it out and enter!

As I had mentioned yesterday, I am just embarking on a new journey! Born out of necessity, you can read about that here, I have found myself a new hobby in creating blogger designs. As of right now, I have made approximately 8 designs with two of them being used by others. I thought I would share with you the ones that I have created! 

This first one is for a fabulous Middle School blogger who had a personalized selfie made by Melonheadz. My job was to create a blog that used this adorable clipart! Here is what I came up with!

My next project was a bit more difficult as it was for my hubby's brand new blog. :) I had to change my girlie perspective and do something a bit more masculine. What do you think?

Then I just began to design because I enjoyed it! Here are a few in my new Simplicity line. This line of blog designs will focus on clean and crisp blog elements, many on a white background. Simple, clean, and organized will be the attributes of this set! Just click the link below each button to see the example blog created with this design.

Do you want to guess which holiday we were celebrating when I created this? lol

Each one has been so much fun to make and I have so many ideas for the future! 

I would love to hear from you! 

Clean and organized?  Bright, funky and fun?  Muted colors with soft undertones? Scrapbook elements or clipart? Photo banners?  What kind of blog do you enjoy visiting? 

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Giveaway Extravaganza! Oh MY!

Hello, friends! *Warning- this post will be FULL of exclamation points!* ;)

I am over the moon with what I am sharing with you today! As I explained yesterday, Learning 4 Keeps has hit a HUGE milestone! I now have over 500 followers in my TPT and 500 friends on Facebook! Just because this wasn't awesome enough, my 1 year bloggyversary is on Wednesday! EEK! I can't believe that one year ago, I decided to jump into this mysterious world called blogging. It has been an amazing ride and one of the greatest aspects has been the connections. I have connected with fabulous writers, bloggers and professionals.

This would most definitely include the fabulous sponsors of my 500 Follower/1 Year Bloggyversary Giveaway! I called out to my TPT buddies and BOY, did they deliver! You will not believe all of the uh-may-zing items that are willing to give to a lucky winner! Of course, I have had so many donations that I have had to break them up so it will actually mean 5 lucky winners! Available in the following giveaways are back to school resources, reports cards, classroom management tools, center activities, units, word programs, posters, and more!! All you have to do is show a little support to these generous professionals by following them! Who would want to miss out on the creators of these fabulous resources anyway? Sounds like a win/win to me!

Also, you will notice the first giveaway is for a few things from Learning 4 Keeps. :) I have a large pack ready to go to someone and I will even include a brand new Blogger blog design by Learning 4 Keeps design!

This is my new venture that I am excited to begin and I hope that someone will enjoy putting a fresh look on their blog or maybe even think of starting one if they haven't already! This design will include a header, sidebar labels, signature, matching button with grab box, installation and matching Facebook cover photo if desired! Want to see one of the designs you could win? Click here!

Have fun entering the giveaways! Winners will be chosen on Wednesday! If you would, promote the giveaway by sharing the button below! Thanks and have a fabulous week my friends!

Learning 4 Keeps
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Learning 4 Keeps Giveaway

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3rd Grade and Up Math/ELA 

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