Monday, December 28, 2015

Stitch Fix - December 2015 Review

So, after a little break in ordering, I finally decided to sign up and receive a new Fix.  I was excited to see that my little package arrived on Christmas Eve.  Stitch Fix did not ask me to review their product, I just wanted to pass the experience along to you!  

Have you heard of Stitch Fix?  If not, you can read more about my first Fix here!  Stitch Fix is a fabulous fashion retail company that assigns you a personal stylist who handpicks you a "Fix" of 5 clothing items and accessories (based on your style profile) and delivers them right to your front door.  Each Fix is customized to your unique taste, budget, and lifestyle.

You are not obligated to purchase anything, shipping is FREE, and the initial $20 you pay when you schedule your first fix is deducted from the price of any items you purchase.

No time to shop?  No problem!  Schedule your Fix and 5 amazing pieces, picked just for you, will arrive at your door for you to try on in the convenience of your own home.  If you choose to keep all 5 pieces you get an additional 25% discount off the total price of your package.  If you would like to send a piece back you just pop it in the enclosed envelope, stick it in your mailbox, and it ships back for free!

My box arrived beautifully wrapped and I had a personalized letter addressed to me from my personal stylist.  I love how she mentioned specifics from my Pinterest page and my blog!

Styling cards are included with examples and ideas for each piece.  I love these because they give great ideas for what to wear.

When I scheduled my Fix I was hoping for some conservative, yet fun and comfortable school outfits that I could wear while teaching.  Check out the variety of fabrics, patterns, and colors this time!

Alright, enough jibber jabber, here is what I got in my Fix:

Collective Concepts Red Idell Dress - $98

I love the deep red color of this dress.  Not only is it perfect for the holidays, but it would also be cute as a Spring / Summer dress.  I love pieces like this that are so versatile.

Bottom line, it was cute, comfy, and came down to my knees.  A little expensive, but I love it!

31 Bits Lunar Light Beaded Necklace - $54

I love the variety of bead colors that appear in this necklace, making it easy to wear alongside a variety of outfits.  It looks adorable with the red dress.

Not only is this beaded necklace absolutely stunning, but it has a wonderful story.

41Hawthorn Benson 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer - $78

This blazer is a cute navy blue.  It pairs well with many of my blouses, as well as the red dress that came with my fix.

The 3/4 sleeves make it a little more comfortable to wear in the warmer weather months that are hopefully shortly ahead.

It is professional, but comfy.  The fabric is super soft.

Skies are Blue Haldis Roll-Tab Henley Blouse - $58

I feel in love with this blouse the second that I pulled it out of the box.  The deep navy blue is one of my favorite colors.  The fabric is super comfy and light weight.

The 3/4 sleeves help to hide my Omnipod Insulin Pump when I choose to wear it on my arms.

The buttons accent this shirt and bump it up a notch in  my style file.

Love love love it!!!

Pixley Ellie Printed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse - $48

From a distance, this blouse look like your ordinary black and white pattern.

But upon closer inspection, you can see the black and white pattern actually forms elegant elephants.  How cute is that?

This 3/4 sleeve blouse is definitely unique.  Wear it as a statement piece, or pair it with your favorite blouse or blazer.

So, what should I keep?  If I keep all 5 pieces I will get a 25% discount.  It's very tempting.  I can honestly say I love it all!

I'd love to hear your opinions!  Any and all suggestions are greatly appreciated!

Stitch Fix

Want to snag your own Stitch Fix?  Use my referral link here.  By going through this link you will help me feed my next Fix!

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Zearn in Math

Do you use Engage NY's Math Modules (Eureka Math)?

Have you heard about Zearn yet?


Oh my.....let me tell you about an amazing gem buried in the trenches of common core math.


It is hard to find quality educational websites, games, activities, and videos that align with Engage NY's Math Modules for Common Core Math.

However, Zearn is a new site that will make learning fun both inside and outside of your classroom.....

....and did I's FREE?!?!?!?!?

Yes, ladies and gentleman!  FREE!!!!!!!!

Use it on your computers, use it on your iPads, just use it.  Give it a try.

Zearn walks students through each lesson beginning with fun and fast paced fluency practice.

Next, it gives video examples and explanations for how to solve problems that are kid friendly and engaging, it provides students with virtual manipulatives that students can use to solve complex problems.

Zearn walks students through each problem, providing them immediate feedback, and additional problems to try if they are struggling.

You can sign in as a whole class and project the days lesson for all to see on your Smart Board.  Or, you can create an individual account for each child in your class and they can progress through the lessons at their own speed, or you can assign them a specific lesson to try.

Zearn is great for the flipped classroom.  Students can walk through the lesson at home and then you can practice and review the concepts in class.

Zearn is great for centers during a guided math design.  Students can be split into small groups and they can rotate between working through the lesson on Zearn using a laptop or tablet, they can play fun games, complete other stations, and then meet with you.

Zearn can be used to review for the mid-module and end-module assessments.

Zearn can be used for a student who was absent and missed the day's lessons.  They can work through the lesson from home, and on their own time.

Or...for sub plans.  The software can be manipulated with ease and will walk students (and the sub) through the day's lesson accurately.

Zearn is AMAZING!!!

If you use Engage NY's Math Modules (Eureka Math) then you should give Zearn a try.

Looking for other materials and resources aligned with Engage NY's Math Modules?

Check out my:
- 3rd grade review packs
- 4th grade review packs
- 4th grade Interactive Math Notebook packs
- 4th grade Application Problem of the Day packs

Friday, December 4, 2015

Show Me the Green - A Fun Read Aloud About Organic Gardening

I was recently contacted by Dianne Venetta to review her fabulous books:  Show Me The Green! for free.  Of course, I said YES!!!!

I immediately began reading it to my 4th grade kiddos the day it arrived.  We had been studying plants so the timing of this book's arrival was perfect.

In this story, two children (Lexi and Jason) enter a contest and discover the world of gardening.
  I love how Dianne Venetta is able to fill this fiction book with interesting facts about organic gardening in a way that not only entertains, but educates students.

I have created a little fact holder for students to store some of the new organic gardening facts that they have learned while we read the book.  You can download it for free here.

If you haven't had a chance, be sure to check this book out!  Your students will LOVE it!

Saturday, October 3, 2015


Hello, Hello!!!

I know, it's been a while.

So, I figured I'd put out a little update.

My husband, daughter, 2 dogs, and I finally moved into our new house.

I began teaching 4th grade (for the ninth year) in a brand new school district that I love.

We had Open House on Monday.

....and we are still living out of boxes.

I've had to take a little break from TPT these past few weeks....but  in a few weeks I will be ready to get back at it.

So, what am I currently working on?

  • Application Problem Pack for Engage NY's Fourth Grade Math Module 4
  • Third Grade Module 3 Review Pack
  • Updating the rest of my Problem Solving Packs
  • Giving a face lift to my Problem Solving Posters

Thank you for sticking with me through all the craziness and changes.

Cheers to a new school year!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Math Problem Solving Journals for Engage NY's Math Module Application Problems

Do you use Engage NY's Math Modules?

We use them in my 4th grade classroom.

I love the Application Problems that are included with almost every lesson.  They are great for spiral review and help students to prepare for the NYS test.

However, the modules do not include worksheets for the application problems...and they take a lot of time to write out.

So, I decided that this year I wanted each of my students to have their own Problem Solving Journal.

Every day students will glue their Application Problem to the top of their page.  They will solve the problem independently.  Then I will have them discuss their solutions and answers with a table partner.  Lastly, I will call a few students up to the Smart Board to model how they solved the problem.

I have been working hard all weekend to finalize the materials for this and to publish them so that you can use them too....for FREE!

 Don't have time for cutting and pasting?  I've also created a whole page version.  You can print them individually.  Or, print them in a little booklet that students pull out each day.

You can download all the Application Problems for the 4th Grade Math Module 1 here in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

It includes each Module 1 Application Problem in 3 versions:
- 4 of the same problem on 1 page (to cut out and glue into journals)
- 1 problem on each page (to print individually or in a booklet)
- A colorful / projectable file with answers
As well as name tags for your Problem of the Day Journals, if you choose to make them.

Check out all the other Monday Made It's at Tara's blog, Fourth Grade Frolics.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Is there really a big pot of gold at the end of the TPT rainbow? - Business Side

One of the most common questions I hear is:  Do you actually make money selling products on Teachers Pay Teachers.

The simple answer . . .  YES!

The extended answer . . . it depends on many factors:

What is your definition of success?  Some teachers make hundreds of thousands of dollars selling products on TPT.  Some just make a few dollars.  How do you define success?  If your aspiring for a million, yes it's possible, but not likely.  If your happy with a little extra spending money to help pay the electric bill then your in the ball park.

How much time do you have?  Some sellers have quit teaching to sell.  It is hard for a full time teacher, blogger, TPT seller, working mom to compare themselves to a single, stay at home, entrepreneur when it comes to sales.  It is ok for TPT to be a part time job.  It doesn't need to consume your whole life.

How creative are you?  There are thousands of sellers on TPT.  Will your products stand out?  If you copy what already exists you will have a hard time standing up to the competition.  However, if your products are unique, desirable, and saves teachers time, your products will sell like hot cakes.

Do you use social media?  I truly believe social media (i.e. Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, etc) are a huge part of my success.  You need other teachers to be able to find your products.  Once they have found it, you need them to know what it is and want it.  This can be easily done with great photographs of your products in use, posted on social media, with links back to your TPT store.

Do you like to collaborate?  A huge part of TPT success comes with collaboration.  Finding and connecting with teachers all over the world to edit and revise each others products, to share ideas, and to exchange valuable information.  TPT has a wonderful forum for sellers.  Check it out.

What TPT Membership is right for you?  You can sell items for free using a standard membership.   It is perfect for someone who just wants to get their feet wet.  You can upload a fee products and see if they sell.  However, if you are serious I strongly suggest you upgrade to a premium sellers membership.  Why?  Although you receive 60% of your sales with the standard membership, you lose an extra $0.30 for each transaction.  However, with an upgrade to a premium seller, the transaction fee is waved (when the purchaser spends at least $3) and you earn 85% of your sale price.  Doesn't seem like much at first, but it really does add up.  It costs $59.95 to upgrade your account.  When I first started it only took a few weeks to earn the money back.  It is a yearly expense but now that I have been selling for four years, it takes less than a day to earn that money back.  Not bad!

There is no scientific algorithm that I can give you that will say if you will or will not make enough money on TPT to consider yourself successful.  However, one thing is for sure, whether you upload one product, or one thousand products, teachers all over the world will access your work and you will touch the lives of children everywhere.

Here is a graph that I created in Excel that illustrates my sales trends.  Every year my sales have increased.  You can see patterns, such as summer being the slowest months and August through November being my strongest.  So, if you are just starting to sell, don't be discouraged.  Things will pick up if you stick with it.

Another major point I'd like to make is success did not occur over night.  It took months for me to fill my store with worthy products and for other teachers to find and purchase my products.  But the wait was worth it.

In my fourth year I consider my profits successful.  In my slowest summer months my TPT income (minus taxes) could easily pay my car payment for the month.  In my most profitable, back to school months, my TPT income could pay my mortgage, school expenses, and part of Natalie's daycare costs.

Although I occasionally dream of making one million dollars, I know that is not my reality.  However, the real pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is that this is the best paying "part time job" I could ever find.  I can work from home, at my pace, and everything I make can be used in my classroom or by my own daughter one day.  I've met many new teacher friends through TPT and social media and I have kept current with educational trends.  The positives are endless.  The extra cash is really just a bonus!

You can do it too!

Are you considering joining TPT?  Use my referral link here.

Tune in next Thursday to learn if you really have to pay taxes on your TPT earnings.

Have a question about selling on Teachers Pay Teachers, blogging, or running a small business?  Comment below and I will try to answer all of your questions over the next few weeks!