Monday, April 29, 2013

Teachers are Taking Over Instagram!

Well, I have jumped on the bandwagon and created an Instagram account for 2nd Grade Stuff.  Apparently all the cool kids are doing it!  I honestly have NO idea what I'm doing and I've uploaded a total of 3 photos so far and have zero followers.  Again, I don't even know what that means!  LOL!  But I do know that teachers are going to take over the Instagram World on Tuesdays using the hashtag #teachertalktuesday...whatever that means!  Click on the picture below to find out more.  :)

If you're interested in joining in on the fun, you can follow me on Instagram {HERE}.  You can also just search for the username 2ndgradestuff from your Instagram app on your phone or tablet and follow me.

Make sure to click on the picture above to find out more, link up, and join in on the fun!  I'm sure I'll figure it out eventually and add it to my list of technology addictions!  Wish me luck!  ;-)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fun with my Cameo and New Units

Well, today I decided to finally get my Silhouette Cameo out of the box!  I have had the sweet little gem since November, but just seriously haven't had the time to even open the thing, much less figure out how to use it.  After hours of playing today, I'm pretty sure I still have no idea how to use it, but I did manage to pump out some fun vinyl lettering!  If you "Like" my 2nd Grade Stuff Facebook Page, you have already seen these fun little creations!

Background by Ashley Hughes, Frame by The Enlightened Elephant, and Fonts by Kimberly Geswein.

Now let me explain how I plan to use each of the fun little creations in the classroom.

1. The first thing I made with the black vinyl was lettering to go on my drawers that I keep by my desk.  You see, in a teacher's world, there is grading, copying, and filing, and it happens all day every day and it never ever stops.  Paper piles drive me crazy, so my drawers keep me somewhat sane in the paperwork craziness.  I think the drawers are pretty self-explanatory and this (I'm sure) is not a new idea!  I did remove the cute scrapbook paper that I once had used to decorate the fronts of the drawers because I really needed to be able to see in.  I noticed that I had a tendency to forget things, because I couldn't see in because of the cute scrapbook paper.  So, not as cute, but more functional!

2. Next, I made vinyl lettering for my Kiss Your Brain jar!  Whenever a student gives a great answer or makes an awesome discovery, I always tell them to "kiss their brain" and then I throw them a chocolate kiss!  They absolutely love it and grin ear-to-ear when they get to "kiss their brain".  So this just makes it a little cuter than the pink basket they were in!

3. Finally, I used the same style jar and made a Bubble Gum Group jar.  Now this is something super special in my classroom.  Every day at the end of the day, I choose a bubble gum group.  This is the group that packs up all their belongings, picks up their table area, and gets to the carpet as quickly as they can, and of course as quietly as they can!  Right before the bell rings, I pick the bubble gum group.  It works wonders for a quiet dismissal time!  I also pick a bubble gum group randomly throughout the day possibly during ELA or Math centers.  This really encourages the groups to work efficiently and quietly.  You would be amazed what the kiddos will do for a piece of bubble gum!

I really had fun with my Cameo today.  Next project: I plan to cut out some cute bulletin board letters with some more KG Fonts!  I'll post more pics when I do.

While you're here, let me remind you of my May Common Core Writing Activities that are now in my TPT Store.  Once again, you can practice the 3 main types of writing found in the Common Core Standards PLUS shared research writing, also found in the CCSS.  They are appropriate for Grades 1-4 and offer fun, authentic, themed writing prompts.  Each prompt includes a task page, a graphic organizer, and publishing paper with both primary and intermediate lines for differentiation purposes.

In the May Common Core Writing Pack, your students will be writing their opinion on whether students need a summer break or if year-round school would be a better option.  The students will also be writing an informative article explaining and describing the parts of a flower and their importance.  In the narrative piece, students will be writing about their favorite memory of the school year so far (which every student can easily relate to).  Finally as a shared research writing piece, students will be researching Memorial Day and writing about what they learned.  Check out the pack below or by clicking {HERE}.

On a side note: I have received several kind emails and messages about creating a writing pack for June/July for those who are in year-round schooling and I'm happy to say that YES, I will definitely be creating a June/July pack for those people.  I will be laying by the pool while you use it though!  :)

Also, if your students are already in summer-mode, why not use that to your advantage?!  Check out my Summer Math and Literacy Centers {Common Core-Aligned}.  The activities are a perfect review of several key skills found in the CCSS with a summer theme that your kiddos will LOVE!  Perfect for the last month of school!  You can check them out below or click {HERE}.

We are officially into the teens for the number of days of school left, so I am jumping for joy!  How many days of school do you have left?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Makeover Madness and New Unit!

Well, you could say that I've been slightly obsessed lately with going back to my older products that I created last year and giving them a complete makeover!  It really is quite fun!  The latest product to get a fresh, new look is my Adverb Mini-Unit.  You can see the new cover below.  All of the pages inside the unit have also been given a fresh, new look with new fonts, graphics, frames, and backgrounds.  I think you'll love it!  Remember, the best part is that if you've already purchased this unit, you get the updated, much cuter version now for FREE.  All you have to do is go back to your My Purchases on TPT, find the product, and click Download Now!  It's all yours!  If you haven't purchased this unit yet, you can find it by clicking the pictures below or clicking {HERE}.

Included in the unit are 5 hands-on, engaging activities to teach adverbs in a super fun way!  The kids will be playing board games, acting out adverbs, and more!  This unit is aligned to the Common Core Standards for Grades 2 and 3.  Click on over to my TPT Store to see more!

See below to view all that's included:

Now that I think about it...I'm pretty sure that I never blogged about my brand-new unit called "Let's Investigate the... Characters".  I created and uploaded this a couple weeks ago and never blogged about it - so sorry!  :)

This is a complete unit that hits many Common Core Standards that address the characters in the text.  It is aligned to the Common Core Standards in Grades 1-3.  Activities include graphic organizers and printables that will serve as more than just the typical "worksheets".  The activities will require some higher order thinking as students investigate the characters in the story and how story elements can affect the characters.  I think you'll find that this unit will keep the students engaged and having fun while hitting those Common Core Standards!  You can check it out in my TPT store by clicking either of the pictures below or clicking {HERE}.

Thanks for stopping by 2nd Grade Stuff!  :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Help! I can't save or print my TPT file!

Background: Maree Truelove, Graphics: The Enlightened Elephant, Fonts: KG Fonts

If you have ever felt like screaming at your computer when a TPT file just won't save or print, let me help you out with a little tutorial.  There are some common issues when making purchases on TPT and I'm going to help you resolve the most common ones with no sweat or tears (I hope)!  :)

"I can't save my TPT file that I just purchased! It's asking me for a password!"
"My TPT file that I just purchased has letters missing or black boxes where letters should be or it's just plain blurry!"

First, let me explain the first issue.  TPT sellers are required to offer their downloads in a secured PDF format to protect the copyrights of both font and graphic artist designers' work.  In easy talk, font and graphic people don't want you to steal their work (and rightfully so)!

If you are trying to save the file you downloaded from TPT and it is asking you for a password, that's an easy fix!  In all of my product descriptions, I state: ** IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS FILE IS ENCRYPTED AND MUST BE OPENED IN THE LATEST VERSION OF ADOBE READER IN ORDER TO SAVE! ** So, if you're having issues saving, follow the steps below.  This will also resolve the issue of black boxes, missing letters, or a blurry mess!  You just need to install/update to the latest version of Adobe Reader - a FREE download from Adobe.

First, open up your internet browser and go to  Then search for "Adobe Reader Download".  Click on the first link that pops up!  This is what it should look like:

It will automatically find the right Adobe Reader for your computer and you'll see a screen like this.  On a PC it may look a touch different, but same concept.

Next you will find the file in your Downloads and double-click.  This is what mine looks like on a Mac.  On a PC, it may look a little different, but you will still double-click the file you downloaded to install it.

Then it's a waiting game to install Adobe Reader.  It may look like this on your computer.  Be patient and let it download and install.

Now you will have the updated Adobe Reader on your computer.  You can now try to open the file in Adobe Reader and it will save perfectly with no password!  Hallelujah!  :)

Do you have a Mac?

There's ONE more tip that will resolve the issues above and it's a BIG ONE!

A Mac is set to open PDF files in the Mac program called "Preview" by default.  Many TPT files, if opened in Preview, will either look like blurry black boxes instead of text or it won't save without a password if the file is secured as it should be.  So here's the solution:

Find the file you downloaded from TPT on your desktop or a system folder (however you organize your files).  For simplicity, I am showing a screenshot where I saved the TPT file to my desktop.  MAC USERS, do NOT double-click the file to open or it will open in Preview and won't work in most cases.  Instead follow the directions below:

Instead of double-clicking, Control-Click (on a Mac) on the file icon or file name.  It will pull up a menu like you see below.  Choose Open With, then Adobe Reader.  Adobe Reader will be further down your list.  Mine is already set to default :)  Find and Click Adobe Reader.

The file will then open in Adobe Reader and you can view it (with no black boxes or blurry craziness) AND you can save without a weird password protection issue.  Happy day!!  :)

"Do I have to do that every time I want to open a TPT file on my Mac?"

How do you make that change "stick" on your Mac so that all of your PDFs from TPT open in Adobe Reader?  Follow the steps below.  First Control-Click on any PDF file.  *Make sure it's a PDF you're clicking on!*  It will bring up a menu like this.  Click Get Info.

Click on the arrow by "Open with" until that tiny gray arrow is pointing DOWN.  Then your menu will look like this under "Open with":

Where this screenshot shows Adobe Reader, your menu will probably say Preview.  Click on that drop-down box and choose Adobe Reader as shown below.  Your Adobe Reader will be lower down on the list.  Again, mine is already set to Default :)

Click on Change All... to make Adobe Reader the default application for opening all PDF files.

It's going to ask you if you're sure.  Of course, you're sure!  Click Continue.

Now, whenever you click on a PDF file on your Mac, it will always open in Adobe Reader by default. No more opening in Preview and not being able to read it clearly OR not being able to save!  :)

"My TPT file just won't print on ANY computer or ANY printer."

This one is an easy-fix.  The problem arises because lots of our TPT files are full of graphics that can "bog down" a computer and/or printer rather easily.  But like I said, easy fix!  When you have the file opened in the latest version of ADOBE READER (see details above), Click File, Print.

When the Print menu opens, find and click Advanced... as shown below.

Then find the checkbox by Print as Image, click there, then click OK as shown below.

Finally, click Print.

  You should be good-to-go as soon as it loads to the printer!  :)

So there you have it!  All the Tips and Tricks that I have learned about saving and printing files from TPT!  Now, please keep in mind, only a small percentage of buyers ever have problems like this, but if you do have any of the problems above...First, DON'T throw your computer, just follow the steps above. :) I have tried to make it as easy and visual as possible.

"Nothing is working!"

In crazy, abnormal, rare cases where you have tried all of the above and are STILL having issues viewing, saving, or printing a file, go to your My Purchases page on TPT.  It is found under the "MY TpT" menu.

 Find and click on Download Difficulties in red text on the right side of the screen under "Need Help?".  It looks like this:

 From that screen, TPT is just a quick Contact Us link away.  They will get back to you super-quick and can even send you the file electronically by email if that's what it takes.

You can also find the Contact Us link at the bottom of any TPT page.

Whew! That took me forever to take all those screenshots and edit them!  Soooo, I really hope you found this useful and please feel free to come back to this post if you ever have troubles viewing, saving, or printing your TPT files.  I always want you to be 110% satisfied with your purchase!  :)

I am linking up this post to Erica Bohrer's fabulous post entitled Getting Started on TPT.  Click on over to her blog to find out some amazing tips and tricks to begin your journey on TeachersPayTeachers or to learn a little more if you are already well on your way!  Click {HERE} or on the button below!  You will also find a link-up of several other great resources from other bloggers as well!  Enjoy!  :)

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted! {Linky Party}

Hello all!  I'm linking up with Flying into First Grade for a Let's Get Acquainted Linky!

This week Latoya is asking us to tell some of our favorites, so here goes!

Favorite Place to Shop:

By far my favorite place to shop is Maurice's.  I literally go in there, browse over the clothes, and basically find a manikin that I like, and get everything that manikin has on (including jewelry).  I'm not the best at color-coordinating or putting outfits together, but their clothes are fabulously put together on those manikins, I tell ya!  They do all the work for you!  They're cute, stylish clothes that are great for working in the classroom.

Favorite TV Show:

Ooooh, my favorite TV show right now is an easy one...REVENGE!  I love the drama and suspense every week.  It's one of several guilty TV pleasures.  :)

Favorite Sweet Treat:

My favorite sweet treat is definitely chocolate.  I keep a container of Hershey Kisses right by my desk.  If a student has a really great answer or comes up with a unique way to solve a problem or is just downright paying attention, I throw them a Hershey Kiss and tell them to "Kiss Your Brain!".  Well, when they kiss their brain, I have to kiss my brain too.  So I consume many, many Hershey Kisses throughout my school day!

Favorite Food:

My favorite food would probably have to be some good ole pizza!  I love just regular cheese or sometimes pepperoni if I'm feeling feisty!

Favorite Restaurant:

My favorite restaurant is an easy one too - Outback Steakhouse!  Love their salads, ranch dressing (it's spicy!), bread, cheese fries, bloomin' onion, oh my word.... OK, now I'm hungry!

Well, now I'm thinking about shopping online, while watching Revenge on DVR, eating chocolate kisses, while ordering pizza or take-out from Outback....ay yi yi... 

Head on over to Flying Into First Grade and link up to share your favorites!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Currently... I'm on Spring Break!

I'm linking up with Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade to share with you what I'm currently up to!

I have a new love for Pandora lately.  I typed in John Cougar Mellencamp and haven't been disappointed with another song they have played yet!  I love me some 80's music!

It's my Spring Break and I am looking out my window seeing sunshine and high 50s for the temp!  Love it!

I just made reservations for our annual summer vacation.  I love the time to relax.  We are "unplugged" for a week!  No cell phones, facebook, computers, or iPads.  Just the sun, beach, and sand.  Can't wait!

I had a to-do list for Spring Break, but I decided to scratch that and just play and have fun!  Nothing productive is going to be happening any time soon around my house!

Needing to go to the grocery...enough said.  Who likes the grocery?!

My advice: Be Patient.  This applies to all aspects of life.  Everything will happen in God's time.  We can't control everything and many times we have to just turn it over to Him.  When things don't go our way, there's a reason.  Prayers unanswered?  There's a reason.  We may not understand it now, but be patient anyway.  God's got this!

NOW, head on over to Oh Boy 4th Grade and link up with Farley for some Currently fun of your own!