What I Wish I’d Known Sooner: Lapbooks

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This is a new teacher note series I am starting called “What I Wish I’d Known Sooner”. Posts beginning with this title will be a cool teaching idea that I didn’t get much time to use in my classroom because either A) I found out about it right as I was taking my hiatus, or B) I found out about it after becoming a SAHM. Aren’t there things you wish you had known sooner? Things to make teaching easier?

This first post is about lapbooks. I didn’t realize what gems these were until about 3 months before I stopped teaching. I came across a {tutorial} on youtube around March of 2014. I then made a country report¬†lapbook for my class. It was a hit! The students loved putting it together and it was a cheap and easy way to make their presentations look FAB.U.LOUS. I fell in love with lapbooks shortly after. The sad part? I only had a few months left of teaching so I didn’t do anymore with my students.

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I did get a little obsessed with lapbooks this summer and have created Back to School lapbooks and Ancient Greece and Mythology Lapbooks. I plan on making a whole series.

To make lapbooks all you need is a file folder, any color will do, paper, foldables, and colored pencils. Start by folding the two edges of the lapbook together, into the center. I like to create  a fun cover to go with the theme of the lapbook report.

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Add any foldables to the lapbook.

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I like to make lapbooks that are a culminating project to writing an essay or story. I put foldables under the essay and on both sides of the folder. That way, the essay or story can lay nicely in the center as part of the presentation. Someone needs to let me volunteer to teach in their classroom so I can make a lapbook with their class! I had fun making one on my own, but I want to do it with some students. #teachingwithdrawls I don’t think it’ll go away any time soon.

What are some things you have learned that you wish you knew sooner in teaching?

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Happy 24th of July (Utah Peeps)!

Today we celebrate the first pioneers coming to Utah. Wahoo! We celebrated with a movie and fireworks :). I need to back track. Each year the Days of 47 parade occurs downtown, this is Utah’s biggest parade. However, we hate the heat and huge crowds so we never go. I did take Cam to the float preview on Monday, so I’m not a total parade failure.

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Cam insisted on face paint, I thought Spider-Man was a good choice.

For the actual holiday, we went to a movie today. We saw How to Train Your Dragon 2, it was pretty cute. It was fun having Shane home to tag along.

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Finally, we ended the day with a family BBQ, water games, and fireworks. All in all, it was a pretty awesome day. I love my family, and we love living in Utah!

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Goodbye for now,

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It’s Starting…

It’s starting. I noticed it the moment I walked into Target. Cam and I were just minding our own business, when Bam! I saw it, the school/teacher supply area in Target’s dollar section. (But let’s not fool ourselves, there are three dollar items there now too. And they are slowly creeping into my basket, mingled among the one dollar items. Sneaky Target, you get me every time).

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My heart starts pounding, I start thinking “what should I get and how many? Will 12 metal buckets really be enough? Maybe I should buy all of the cute hall passes, they are just a dollar and the students are bound to lose one or two, or possibly twelve the first week. I throw all the accordion folders into my basket before some other¬†energetic teacher walks¬†by and grabs 32 for her incoming students. Would it be crazy to spend all of my teacher supply money at Target, in the dollar section? They seem to have all that I need to be a stellar teacher this year. The kids deserve a good education, and *cute* supplies…wait a second…what am I doing?”

And so it begins, the back to school sales and shopping.¬†By my own choice, I’ll be left out of it this year.¬†I can’t even buy Cam¬†anything for school because he’s only two. But you know what? It’s ok. This is what we did instead of BTS shopping: we looked¬†around at the clothes (really, just looked, because now we don’t have my teacher income, so goodbye new clothes!), and we looked at the book section in Target. I know, pretty thrilling and you are all jealous ūüôā We also went swimming with grandma. Check out this stud!

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So while I may be a little sad not to be back-to-school shopping, I am completely THRILLED to be spending time with this guy ^. I am grateful everyday for my opportunity to be a teacher and am beyond words thankful that I get to spend more time at home. I realize not everyone gets this luxury, so I am going to milk it for all it’s worth!

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10 Things I Learned From the TPT Conference

MY first “teacher note” on Mom Quotes and Teacher Notes is here, and I am thrilled it’s a¬†compilation of tips I learned at the first ever¬†TPT conference.¬†I’ll just jump right in with the goods.

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1. No matter who you are or where you are as a seller, Paul respects you. I was honestly touched by how much Paul cares about TPT sellers. His story of creating the site, up til now, is incredible. He knew many sellers individually and he wanted to get to know all of us there. He said he brought a hug for each of us. I went and got mine, as well as a picture!

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2. Collaborating with other TPT sellers is key. While you may own your own store, you really can’t be in this business alone. I have gained invaluable information and ideas from other sellers I collaborate with on Facebook and the TPT forum. We help edit each other’s products, give suggestions on items we are working on, answer TPT (and sometimes un-related TPT) questions, we make friends, we help each other marketing wise, and we go through this journey together. Collaboration is a vital part of this community. While at the conference I got to meet up with several TPT seller friends I have made online.

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3.¬†I’m a little behind, but I am just starting to figure out this whole Pinterest craze. Sure I liked to pin recipes, clothes, and makeup, but I could never figure out how to edge my way into the education world of Pinterest. First, if you are a TPT seller, make your Pinterest account a business account. Next, remember that business is business and personal is personal. If you want TPT Pinterest followers, stick to your educational pins. Educators will follow you because they want educational pins, not ¬†because they want to know what you are making for dinner :).

4. A common theme I kept hearing throughout the social media discussions was the 80/20 rule. Your posts, pins, updates, and pictures should be 80% value and only 20% marketing and promoting of products. Your followers need to trust you. They don’t want to be bombarded with “commercials” and paid products. Freebies do not count as a “valued” post; those would still be promotional because it is advertising your products.

5. When you make a pin (yes make your pins, don’t just pin product covers), include a $ in the description for paid products. This is a courtesy to pinners and buyers.

6. Your Facebook posts should be a variety of links to blog posts, engagement questions, photos, quotes, questions answered from your fans, freebies from your TPT store and other stores, contests, links to websites, pins, and videos. Post 1-2 times a day when beginning a Facebook page. You can schedule Facebook posts (I loved this, I didn’t know this was possible. It will change how I use Facebook, and not make it seem so daunting!).

7. Rachel Lynette shared a great quote, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”-Theodore Roosevelt. Sometimes I get stuck comparing myself to other TPT stores. If I were to have quit because I got discouraged by looking at someone else’s store early on, I wouldn’t be able to to see the success I have been able to have now.

8. When referring to Pinterest (but I think this goes with most social media sites) it was mentioned in Rachel Lynette’s class that, “Content is King and images are Queen.”

9. Be Kind, be real, be honest.

10. We are all in this together! TPT is here to help teachers be successful. It’s here to give us the opportunity to share our creative ideas and classroom strategies. It is only going up from here!

I am so glad I was able to go to the conference. I am already planning for next year. Did I mention that Deanna Jump, TPT’s top seller, is amazing? I was honored to meet her.

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Did you attend the TPT conference? What were some tips you learned? comment below.

 

So long for now,

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Vegas Trip

As a teacher turned stay-at-home mom, when going to a teacher conference (in Vegas no less), who do I bring along? My husband and 2  year old son. You bet!

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Bringing my husband to Vegas was an obvious choice, but my 2 year old son? Well, that probably deserved the mom of the year award. You know, since Las Vegas is so kid friendly and all. Jokes aside, we did have a good time.

The drive was about 6 hours and Cam did awesome! He stayed pretty entertained (as you can tell in the picture) watching movies on a portable DVD player. Shane and I listened to an audiobook which we haven’t finished yet (about 2 CD’s left) called¬†Escape from Auschwitz by Joel C. Rosenberg. Pretty uplifting right? What it really is, is heroic and inspiring, interesting and incredible. We¬†like historical fiction, especially Word War II.

Our first stop was a buffet. Of course. We went to the Bellagio, and it was delicious. We got there at 3:30 which turned out to be a perfect time because we paid the lunch price for the dinner menu. Dinner started at 4. As you can see, Cam enjoyed his first buffet. He was excited to pick out different foods. The bacon was his favorite. Good choice my son.

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We stayed at the Venetian hotel and it was beautiful! So pretty, clean and elegant. It’s made to look like you are walking the streets of Venice inside, with actual gondola rides. I took Cam on the gondola and he loved it.

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Most of Friday I was in the TPT conference learning all I could about my TPT store and how to improve as a seller. Shane took Cam to a shark aquarium and walked the strip. After my conference we went to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe and then walked around the giant M&M store. With all the animals at dinner, and the walking red M&M character, I think Cam thought we were at a mini  Disneyland. Good thing we have taken him to the real thing!

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One of my “Dreams” has always been to visit Carlo’s Bakery in New Jersey. ¬†So, you can imagine my excitement when I found a Carlo’s Bakery in the Venetian hotel! I was ecstatic to say the least. I could finally taste one of the cannolis¬†that is always talked about on Cake Boss. I must say, it exceeded my expectations. It was delicious.

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We had a good time and it was fun to be on a vacation with just our little family.

Until next time,

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Teacher Turned Stay-at-Home Mom

The other day I looked at my 2 year old son¬†Camden and said, “Go line up at the door.” OK, so school had just ended and I was obviously¬†still in teacher-mode, but I had a small suspicion that if I kept telling Cam to line up at the door, that I’d probably soon be asking him to raise his hand to speak or rewarding him with five minutes of extra recess if he stayed on task. The truth is, school hadn’t “just ended” for me, but my days as an elementary school teacher had¬†just ended.¬†At least for now. And I was still hanging on, not ready to let that teacher part of me go.

As long as I can remember I have wanted to be a teacher. I even have this picture I drew of myself teaching when I was in 6th grade.

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Ironically I ended up teaching 6th grade for 5 years. But I also had another dream my whole life, to be a mom. So, this year is different. I’m done teaching. For now at least.

That’s when the idea for this blog came to me. Literally, I was in bed, trying to sleep (it seems like all my good ideas come to me, roughly 10 seconds before I fall asleep), when I thought, “Why don’t I combine my two passions in life, being a mom and teaching?¬†All my adventures being a mom can be documented as a ‘Mom quote,’ while sporadically I can post about my teaching ideas, AKA ‘teacher notes.'” Voila! My teacher life doesn’t need to end!¬†I can still be a mom and have my teaching life live¬†on #thebestofbothworlds. Sure, I won’t have a classroom, and my only student is the cutest two year old ever, but this will be awesome.

So stay tuned for updates and adventures from the Kwant household as well as teaching ideas coming¬†your way. This will be one wild ride you won’t want to miss!

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