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Saturday, September 20, 2014

An Apple for the Teacher Blog Hop!

I am so happy to be participating in this weekend's fun, apple-themed blog hop!  Don't miss some of the great freebies, ideas, and giveaways.  Take a look at my idea and grab my apple game that's FREE thru Thursday, September 23rd.  (Sorry, but after the hop, this item is no longer free.  Be sure to follow my blog to catch the next freebie!)  Then, click on the link at the bottom to hop on through!  


I have been making and using games in my classroom for many years.  I love using games because:

1) Games are developmentally appropriate for my littles.  They are learning academic material through play, as well as working on turn taking and social skills.
2) They are great for homework.  Games allow parents to see what skills students are working on at school.  They are often short bursts of practice that also allow for family time.
3) Games are perfect for center activities.  They can be easily differentiated to address the needs of various groups of students.  In fact, most of my games address at least 2 skill levels.  This way, groups of students working on different skills can even play the same game!  
4) They are FUN!  The students are having a blast AND learning at the same time.  Everyone loves games!  


Here's my latest game, an apple-themed math game created just for the hop!   It has three levels of cards to practice addition, subtraction, and multiplication.  Two of my own little ones played it today.  My son (kindergarten) worked on addition while my daughter (first grade) did subtraction.  It's great that they can play the same game and yet focus on different skills.  


This math game will be FREE only for the hop. Click on the picture below to grab yours thru Tuesday, September 23rd!  (Sorry, but after the hop, this item is no longer free.  Be sure to follow my blog to catch the next freebie!)  Then, click on the blog button to hop on to the next great apple-themed idea!  

Click on the picture to grab this FLASH FREEBIE on Teacher's Notebook.

Thanks for reading!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Technical Problems with Teacher Files and How to Solve Them

I frequently get technical questions regarding downloading/opening/printing my teacher-created materials.  Although I am no technology whiz, here are some ideas about how to solve a few common problems.


I once had a file that looked great on the screen, but printed with all of these black boxes instead of text!  Help!  Printing wrong AND using up more ink than I ever imagined is a teacher nightmare!  
     SOLUTION 1:  Download the latest version of Adobe Reader.  Just click HERE.  All of my files and probably 90% of the files on teacher sites are PDFs.  They are meant to be opened with Adobe Reader.  Now, my Mac with open them with Preview usually, but I have to remember that this program makes the margins, etc. just a bit different.  Opening with file with the latest version of Adobe Reader usually solves a myriad of problems.  
     If the file STILL looks wrong (such as you see it on the screen correctly, but the dotted lines won't print), then open the file with Adobe. Go to "print." Then, click on "advanced settings" and choose "print as image." 


As a teacher-author, when you have several files to bundle, this is the most efficient way to bundle them.  No one wants to receive one huge file with 300 or 400 pages to scroll through, right?  Instead, we place separate files into a ZIP file.  

     SOLUTION 2: If you have a Mac, just save the zip file to your desktop and double click it to extract the folder within.  It will magically appear on your desktop!   If you have a PC, it might be that simple . . . or not!  When I had a PC, I purchased a program called WinZip.  It looks like there is now a free trial WinZip available on their official site.  Click HERE to take a look.  
Here's a page that offers more ideas for opening these files:  How to Open a .Zip File Without Winzip.    

Another easy solution to this problem is to download the file on another computer.  Some operating systems will open the .ZIP file automatically.  


Let me just say that I have come to regard printing and laminating as an art form--or perhaps it should be an Olympic sport!  I am constantly looking for ways to use less colored ink, print with different margins, print posters, etc.  

     SOLUTION 3:  There is really no one answer here, I'm afraid.  Your answer to this will depend on the program AND take some searching, as well as trial and error printing.   For example, I like to open my files with Preview on the Mac.  I click "Print," then I look for options.  

If you are missing some of your page (such as missing borders or titles, or the margins are wrong), then click on "Print Entire Image" or change the scale.  
Click on the bar that says "Preview" to find more options . . .

In the picture above, I clicked on the bar with "Preview," then I clicked on "Print Options."  This is where I usually end up.  If you like to print things in grayscale to save ink, click that box.  Printing one page as a poster is great for group lessons or for things that decorate the room.  

If you are having major problems with margins, make sure that you have selected the correct paper size and that the scale is 100% or what you need.    



Most of the time, teachers assume that something is wrong with the file.  While this can happen, it is usually not the case.  This just happens.  It is just a glitch in how the file was downloaded. As you know, technology is great, but it never works 100% of the time.  This is one of those times that something failed to come from some server on the other side of the country through your wifi, arriving on your desktop in pristine condition.  If you think about it, I don't know why we don't have more damaged files.  

     SOLUTION 4:  The solution is to just download it again.  Now, if you download it 3 times and there is STILL something wrong, then please contact customer service.  

1.  Here's my secret "go to" solution for almost everything:  Google it!   It works almost every time.  You might have to search once or twice to find exactly what you need, but there is a lot of helpful info out there, especially when it comes to computer problems.  Keep in mind, though, that programs sometimes change with new versions, so you might find info that no longer applies.   
2.  Shut down the computer (or printer, or iPad, etc.).  Count to 10 slowly, then turn it back on.  I have absolutely NO idea why this works, but it often does!  
3.  Open the file on another computer.  The other computer might have a program that will open your file automatically.  It also works sometimes if you can print the file using a different computer and/or printer.  

Well, I hope you have found something here to help.  If I think of more problems/solutions, I will add them here.  

As always, thank you for reading!  

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Saturday, September 6, 2014

Talk Like a Pirate Day FREE and Priced Resources

Ahoy, Me Hearties!  Are ye ready for "Talk Like a Pirate Day" on September 19th?  Be ye in need of more resources?  Find both FREE and paid pirate-themed resources below!  

1.  Please include 1 free and/or 1 paid pirate-themed item.  
2.  Include FREE or $ and grade level in the title.
3.  Please share this page via 1 type of social media.  Use the picture above.  

Thanks for joining and/or taking a look, Mateys!

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Friday, September 5, 2014

Word Work Pack for Kindergarten and First Grade--And a FREEBIE!

Click on the picture above to see this set on Teacher's Notebook.
CLICK HERE to see it on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

The cover of one of my favorite resources recently got a makeover!  The materials in this set are very useful, but the look was a little outdated.  Of course, I have been using this set for quite a while, so I suppose it was just time for a small change.  

This Word Work set is perfect for:

* Making, reading, and writing word families
* Practicing 18 blends and digraphs
* Filling in simple sight word sentences
* Beginning word searches focusing on sight words

The best part is that most of the pages can be completed AND cut apart to make books!  These are great for reading and rereading word families!  Students can read at school and then take the books home to read again.  Several more word family pages and word searches come with colorful graphics.  These can be laminated for use in literacy centers.  

The picture above was taken from a similar, FREE set I made to accompany the Word Work Pack.  It has 10 pages of similar activities, also focusing on sight words and word families.  Click on the picture below to download a set!  

Click on the picture above to download this FREEBIE from Teacher's Notebook.
CLICK HERE to download it from Teachers Pay Teachers.  

I hope your students enjoy the FREEBIE!  

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pirate Cut-and-Glue Sentences for Kindergarten and First--and a FREEBIE!

Click on the picture to find the K/1st set on Teacher's Notebook.  
Click HERE to find the K/1st set on Teachers Pay Teachers.

I am so happy to have finished 2 sets of pirate-themed cut-and-glue sentences!  I have one set for K/1 and another for 2/3 (CLICK HERE to see the 2/3 set).  Each set helps students practice more than 100 Dolch sight words!

Two of my children just happen to be in K and 1st, so I had each of them complete one of the pages.  The pages for kindergarten focus on pre-primer and primer sight words.  Each sentence contains 5 words.  

The sentences become a little more difficult by increasing to 6 words each.  More sentences with quotation marks are also included.  The "first grade" sentences include most of the Dolch words for first.   
Like my other sets, the sentences help with sight word recognition, grammar, and punctuation.  I focus on getting students to notice which word has a capital, reminding them that sentences must begin with a capital letter.  I also have them focus on the punctuation mark at the end of the sentence.  Reading the sentence aloud not only helps them practice sight words, but it often helps them correct grammar mistakes.  

Try them out in your classroom!
Click on the picture below to grab 2 pages for FREE!  

As always, thank you for reading!  

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