Sunday, June 29, 2014

Help Me Celebrate With a Friend!

A friend, Tabitha from Totally Sweet Math Centers by Tabitha, recently hit a huge milestone over at her Teachers Pay Teachers store...1,000 followers! I think this is huge because, after almost a year on TpT, I just recently hit 121 followers. So to me, 1,000 is massive. Anyway, to help Tabitha celebrate, I am participating in a really big giveaway. All of the details of the giveaway are below, but make sure you are seated because it is mind-blowing.
I've teamed up with the best of the best TpT sellers for what I'm sure will be an amazing giveaway! 10 winners will each win one of the prize packages listed below. Each package contains a $10 shopping spree to 10 different stores- that a $100 shopping spree and a total of $1000 in products in all!

You can enter right from my page. Best of luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Three Resources I'm Excited About!

You probably already know this, but the internet is pretty awesome. Especially when it comes to finding resources and ideas for your classroom. I have no idea how teachers can be in the classroom these days and not be aware of all of the great things that are available. I know a teacher who absolutely refuses to join Pinterest and very rarely utilizes Teachers Pay Teachers. How is that even possible? Blows my mind.

With that being said, here are three resources that I am pretty excited to use for the coming year. I hope that you will find them useful.

  • Task Card Corner. I love task cards. My Teachers Pay Teachers store is full of the task cards that I made for my students to use during math centers. Each week they would come in and ask if I had more cards for them to use. Task Card Corner is a blog with tons of ways to use task cards. I can't wait to try these ideas out when school starts up again.
  • Guided Math Adventures. I am currently working my way through Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction by Laney Sammons. There are some really great ideas in the book (I think I may have to read it more than once) that will be awesome to begin implementing this fall. The teachers over at Guided Math Adventures are going to be sharing some of their resources and ideas. It is a new blog, so there isn't a lot of content yet, but I am excited about what is to come. Be sure to give them a follow.

  • LuckeyFrog's Lilypad Pinterest page. My friend who writes LuckeyFrog's Lilypad has an incredible collection of Pinterest boards. Her job is a reading specialist (update: I just read that she is a fourth grade science/social studies teacher in the fall), but she has some really great stuff for all areas (including math). Definitely go follow her on Pinterest (you can follow me too by clicking here or by using the social media buttons on the side).

I hope you find these resources helpful. I know there are millions of resources out there. I hope I can find them and share them. If you find some great places or ideas, please share them with me and with others. Teaching is a collaborative sport, right?

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Please Pardon the Mess

As you may have noticed, I am not the best blogger in the world. This is something that I would like to change. As a result, things are going to be a bit dicey around here. I found some tutorial videos for how to design your own blog templates, so I am going to give it a shot. I am also going to seriously focus on producing some new content. I have some ideas. I just need to sit down and write. I appreciate your continued support.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Saving Money for Your Disney World Vacation

I am a huge Walt Disney fan. I have Mickey Mouse t-shirts. I have Mickey Mouse coffee cups. My wife bought me a Mickey Mouse lunch bag. Our boys love to watch Disney movies (my favorite? I'll tell you at the end.) For our tenth wedding anniversary, my wife and I took a Disney cruise (best trip ever, by the way). As you can see, we are huge Disney lovers.

We are currently saving for our next trip to the Walt Disney World Resort. My wife and I took our boys last summer and it has been our goal to go again as soon as possible. Because of the size of our family (two adults and five children), we have to do Disney a little bit different. This means driving from West Virginia to Florida and staying off-property. Doing these things (among others...I'll share sometime) help us keep the costs way down.
Because a trip of this nature can be so expensive, it is important to plan ahead make sure that you have enough money saved up. There is nothing worse than going into debt for a vacation. Dave Ramsey would fly in on his giant black helicopter if he knew you were doing something like that.

Unfortunately, from my research, I have found very few articles or ideas on how to save for a Disney vacation. There are a lot of articles and blogs that will tell you how to save money at, but not many that help you save for a trip. The exception is Couponing to Disney. That site has some really great ideas.

Here are the things that I am personally doing to help save for our Disney trip. This list is by no means exhaustive and I am sure that there are a lot of ideas that I am missing or not doing. These are just the things that I am doing.
  • Set up a savings account and do direct debit to that account. My wife and I have the privilege of banking at Navy Federal Credit Union. Through NFCU, we have an account called an Easy Start Certificate, which earns us 2.96% on the amount we put into the account. It's not much, but every little bit helps, right? In addition to this account, I set up our checking account to automatically transfer $53 to the savings account every two weeks. Why $53? I found this chart on Pinterest and modified it a little. By having the money automatically put into our savings account every two weeks, we are guaranteed to be saving that money. And, by using the certificate account, it makes it a bit more difficult to withdraw the funds. I can get the money if I need to, but I have to call Navy Federal and talk to an agent (who are wonderful, by the way), so that makes me less likely to take the money out.

  • Put all your loose change in a jug or jar. I love to go to the movies, especially during the summer. We don't have a movie theater in our town, but we do have a nice theater in the next town over. It costs me $12.50 (as of this post) to get a ticket, a medium popcorn, and a bottle of Vanilla Coke each time I go to the theater. I always go to the ATM and take out $20 before going to the theater. When I get home, my change goes into our "Disney Jug." When our boys (mostly the little ones) get birthday money, we make a big deal about having them put their money into the Disney Jug. Any coins we find or get from spending cash goes into the Disney Jug. I realize that this isn't a new idea, but this is what we are doing. My older boys and I recently counted the money in our Disney Jug and discovered that it is slightly over $100. We aren't going to pay for our entire trip, but it is certainly going to help.

  • Save your "found" money for the trip. I call any unexpected money "found money." This is money that you receive or earn that isn't a part of your regular paycheck. For me, a lot of my "found money" comes from my Teachers Pay Teachers store. I make products and activities to use in my classroom and I post them online for other teachers to purchase if they can use them in their classrooms. In addition to saving for Disney World, my wife and I are also trying to pay off a credit card. Each month that I have my TpT store open, I set an earnings goal for myself. All of the money that I earn up to a certain amount goes to my credit. Anything above that amount goes into our Disney fund. I have been blessed to be able to put a little bit into the Disney fund each month for several months now.

    Other places we receive "found money" from include my after-school activity and from Three times a year, I have a program called Running Club that I host at my school. I typically have about 20 or so students who stay after once a week to run laps and receive incentives based on the number of laps they run. A simple concept, but it helps me to earn money to put toward the credit card and the Disney trip. From, my wife (who blogs at Mamas Like Me and I will share items and books we find beneficial. For example, I wrote about how I use dice in my classroom and I posted a link to the dice I purchased. When someone follows the link and purchases the dice, we receive a small percentage. This money goes into the Disney fund.

    I know other folks sell items online or at yard sales to raise money. Others tutor or write blogs to earn extra money. This "found money" is a great way to help save your way to a great trip.
Like I said before, I am positive that there are a number of other ways to save money for a Disney World vacation. These are the ways that we are saving money. I hope that these methods will stir up your imagination and get you thinking about how you can save for your own trip, whether it is to Disney World or wherever your dream vacation is.

By the way, my favorite Disney movie is Mary Poppins. In fact, Mary Poppins is probably my most favorite movie of all time. It never gets old.

What ideas/suggestions do you have to save money for a vacation? Please share below.