Monday, September 28, 2015

Blog Re-Launch and Huge Giveaway with 3 Winners Chosen!

Thank you for stopping by my Blog Re-Launch Giveaway! I am beyond excited to share my new blog design with you! September has been quite busy with a new school year that started the end of August and everyone has been taking me out for my recent birthday. Finally, I found a free weekend to launch this awesome celebration and my it's my first time hosting a collaborative blog giveaway!



It's been an amazing journey becoming a TpT author. I honestly thought I would never make it this far. I never saw myself becoming a successful blogger, but over time and with the support of blog buddies I have made it. I am so grateful for all the readers and teachers who support my TpT store. I know that teachers deserve much more than they make, but sometimes we just can't help but spend a little extra of our own money to enrich the lives of our students whether it's extra classroom supplies, prizes, or buying helpful and engaging resources on TpT. Your support enables me to do more for my students and my family and I can't thank you enough. I'm excited to be able to give back to you today in the form of a super-duper huge and awesome giveaway! 

I also just can't believe how many views my blog has now. Deanna Jump even commented on my blog this past July when I posted about my experience at the Second TpT Conference in Vegas. I am so grateful to be part of a generous and collaborative TpT community! So many wonderful bloggers and teacher-authors have come together to support me in the celebration of my blog re-launch!  I am also happy that I was able to find a blog designer who was able to execute my vision perfectly! It took some time, but I found a perfectionist like myself and this is the end result. I love what Alexis of LEL Designs has done for me. She worked tirelessly to make sure I was happy with every aspect of my design this past summer. 

Just take a look at this BEFORE picture of my blog to get an idea of the complete makeover that was done. I'm going to miss the cherries, but I'm happy to have a more professional looking blog now that isn't so busy. The good news is that a similar cherry theme will continue over at my new recipe blog in the works.





I want to give a little background about my design inspiration. When I was a little girl I enjoyed watching musical movies like Singing in the Rain, Oklahoma, Westside Story, and Grease with my Mom and grandparents. With the last two movies being my favorite, I really wanted a 50s themed blog to remember my grandparents by and to showcase my love of music that I inherited from my parents. My grandmother became sick at a young age with heart disease and passed away when I was only ten years old. So sitting down to watch movies with her was a big thing our family did as she was always resting in her recliner. 

My sister and I would also dance around the living room to entertain her and my grandpa and for some reason my Irish grandfather played had a particular fondness for Polka. Didn't matter what country it was from he just loved it. Of course, this was in addition to some Irish music. I also loved movies with Elvis, Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, and watching that Sha Na Na show. My parents were teenagers in the 50s and 60s so they played many tunes from those decades. Often, my Dad had the radio turned to the oldies channel while my siblings and I swam in the pool. My mom was also a huge Beatles fan too and would play their beautiful ballads on the piano. I blogged about taking my parents to Beatles Love and Jersey Boys two summers ago, while in Las Vegas for the first ever TpT conference. Words can't express how nice it is do something big for my parents after all they have done for me. So there you have it the story behind my design.

I want to share my first FREEBIE with my new brand and logo included. It's something I learned about from one the first Whole Brain Teachers I worked with, back when it was Power Teachers. It's a way to label the parts of grammar when you are completing DOL or Daily Language Practice. Well since my school has been using Reading and Writing Workshop for some time I wanted to find a different way to incorporate grammar into the "program." I attended a workshop that talked about the importance of mentor sentences, and the book Everyday Editing by Jeff Anderson which shows students how they can take a look at an author's word choice and craft to build their own sentences, all while analyzing the various components and structure of a sentence.

Below is a pic of what I came up with to help my students label their mentor sentences. (Just click it to get it.)  I used this free lesson by Cutesy Clickables for one of my favorite books The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant as I figured my students could all relate to visiting relatives. My students loved the lesson and my boss did too. I was shocked at the incredibly detailed sentences with attention to proper grammar and punctuation that they created on their own. So I began using Mentor Sentences by Jivey for grades 3-5 this year. Watch this video to see how she used it in her third grade. Since my boss was so impressed she purchased enough licenses for my grade level and the set for second grade too! I can't wait to see how my third graders come in next year after experiencing mentor sentence in second. See how she use her lessons in this blog post that includes video of how she uses it in younger grades. Not only is her stuff fabulous I got to meet her this summer in Vegas and learn how to create reading comprehension passages.



If you like freebies and deals I will also be launching my newsletter so you can be notified of great happenings here. The first newsletter coming up will focus on Classroom and Behavior Managment with Whole Brain Teaching freebies thrown in that are not yet available in my TpT store. I promise not to share your email or send too many. As it is I'm only a once a month blogger and I only see myself sending a newsletter a few times a year. Sign up in the giveaway and check opt-in and earn your first entry into the giveaway. You can always decide to unsubscribe later. 

Now on to the huge giveaway where three lucky winners will be chosen. Please keep in mind that while the contest is open to everyone 18 years or older, but you'll need to be a U.S. resident to claim the first prize package as it will be mailed. The giveaway widget will already sort out eligible participants for this. However, the second and third prize packages are digital in nature so anyone from any country can win! No purchase of any kind will be necessary to participate, but the giveaway widget does require the collection of emails so I can contact the winners. With the legalese out of the way let's get this giveaway started!! Whoo hoo!