Tuesday, December 9, 2014

KeeKee's Big Adventures Giveaway!


A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed KeeKee's Big Adventures in Athens, Greece. This is a book that I will be using to introduce my Greece Unit next year.

Today I'm happy to announce that I am part of a book tour and you have a chance to win a copy of the book and a KeeKee kit!

Synopsis:  KeeKee is the adventurous calico kitty who travels the world in her hot air balloon. Paris, Rome, and now - Opa! - it’s Athens, Greece! Join KeeKee as she explores the sights, sounds, and tastes of one of the oldest cities in the world. Young readers share KeeKee’s delight as she discovers exciting places and immerses herself in the Greek culture.

KeeKee's latest adventure includes a kid-friendly pronunciation guide and glossary in the back of the book along with a charmingly illustrated map of Athens.

Publisher: Calithumpian Press
Hardback: 40 pages
Language: English
Price: $16.99
ISBN-13: 978-0-9886341-2-1


Awards:  KeeKee's Big Adventures in Paris, France won the Independent Book Publishers Association Benjamin Franklin Awards Silver for Best First Children’s Book in April 2014 and Gold Mom’s Choice Award in Autumn 2013. KeeKee's Big Adventures in Rome, Italy received a Gold Mom's Choice Award in April 2013.

Biography:  Shannon Jones spent over 20 years working in marketing, including time with Discovery Networks and 12 years with Starbucks. While with Starbucks, she spent four years as head of marketing and product for Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa. With a degree in Communications from the University of Virginia, Jones returned to her passion for writing, as well as sharing her love of travel and helping kids in their quest for learning and discovery, with her KeeKee’s Big Adventures Series. She lives with her husband and 10-year old cat, KeeKee, in Alexandria, VA.

KeeKee’s Big Adventures in Athens, Greece is currently available through Amazon.comBarnesandNoble.com and where ever books are sold.

Enter to win a copy of KeeKee’s Big Adventures in Athens, Greece and a KeeKee kit which includes a passport, 2 KeeKee temporary tattoos, 2 KeeKee Buttons, a KeeKee ornament and 4 coloring pages.


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

TpT Milestone Celebration


I reached a TpT milestone recently and I am celebrating! I'm extending my Cyber Monday sale until Dec. 8th. Everything in my store will be 20% off including my bundles.

I have also made one of my task card sets free for the next week.



Make sure to check out my Facebook page where I will be listing some 1/2 price items and some flash freebies for the celebration!

Here are some products that have just been uploaded and you might not have seen:

My Fraction Task Cards Bundle is finally complete. You get a total of 560 cards. The bundle is discounted 25%.


Fraction, Decimal, Percent Poster and Graphic Organizer Set


Coordinate Graphing Poster and Graphic Organizer Set


Decimal Operations Poster and Graphic Organizer Set


I hope you will join me in my celebration and let me know what you might like to see at 50% off!






Monday, November 24, 2014

How To Make Task Cards

I started buying task cards long before I starting making them.  I found that I started to have preferences for the cards that I purchased and that dictated what cards I would purchase.
  • I like cards in which I didn't have to make more than two cuts. I don't want to have to cut around the outside to get rid of the white border that is created because a printer won't print edge to edge. 
  • I hate cards in which the color is cut off because a seller put their frame or background paper too close to the edge of the page.
  • I love having a cover page for the set of task cards. I usually just have to make one myself for the cards that I purchase.
  • I love a mini answer key. Again, I have to create one myself because I have yet to find other sellers that do this.
  • I hate when the cards are not aligned or are not all the same size, grrrrr!!
The following are things to consider when you make your task cards. These are all things that I do. Choose how you want your cards to look and pick and choose what works for you.

Number 1

Sometimes the frames looked weird because the seller tried to make the frame into dimensions that did not match the original format. That really bugs me. Having a background in digital scrapbooking and knowledge of such things, it makes me cringe every time I see it. This led me to create TASK CARD TEMPLATES to make things easier for those that wanted to create task cards.

If you haven't tried my templates, here is a freebie that you can try.


Number 2

I hate it when I print my task cards that have color on them and the frame or background gets cut off. Yes, I realize this makes me a bit anal but we like what we like. What this means is when I make my task cards, I make sure to keep a border around the edge so that this cut off doesn't happen.  

I've made TASK CARD TEMPLATES that have a perfect 1/4 inch white edge around each card and prevents this cut off from happening.  Here are links to a few of the sets:  Squiggle Frames, Chevron, Doodle Frames, Summer,  Transparent Frames, Large Scalloped, Chevron 2, Doodle Frames 2, Holiday Frames, Small Scalloped, Spring, Dotted, and Checkerboard


You'll notice that the cards I create don't have any of the colored part cut off because of the gap I leave in the border.


Number 3

One of the things I get thanked for doing the most with my task cards is creating a mini cover and answer key. I often have my students self check, so creating the mini key was an obvious solution to me because it could be stored with the rest of the cards and I didn't have to hunt it done when I wanted to use it.

I create 95% of my products in Microsoft Powerpoint because of its ease of use.  One of those features is saving the slides as jpgs.  I save the slides and insert the cover page onto a new page to make my mini cover. If the answer key can be resized with ease, like the one below, I just resize the font and table and insert it into the same slide as the mini cover. If the answer key has something that doesn't easily re-size, I use the jpg like I do for the cover.


Black line only for viewing purposes.
Number 4

A recent discussion come up among sellers about including color or b&w versions of task cards. I asked this question on my FB page and the overwhelming majority wanted the option of both. I LOVE color task cards and my students to do, so up until now that is the only way I have created them. I've slowly started to add the b&w version of the task cards to the sets that have already created. Any future sets will include both.  As a seller, this will up the cost for you because some artists don't include the color and blackline version of the clip art together in a set. Some of the clip art that I use doesn't even have blacklines offered. I now make my choices of clip art based on whether or not the blacklines are included.


So how do you start creating task cards?  Here is a video I put together on how to use my templates. This is the easiest way to get started. You don't have to worry about lining everything up, because I've done it for you.

I also created a video on how to use my Transparent Task Card Templates which can be found HERE. These are really nice because you can make frames any color that you want.


If you have any additional questions about how to make task card, feel free to post your questions in the comments and I will be happy to answer them.




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Task Card Organization (the last one, I hope!)


I've posted a couple of different ways that I have stored my task cards. You can find those posts  HERE and HERE. I hope this is the last time that I change things around.  I've had it like like this since the end of last school year and it seems to be working. Fingers crossed....

I'm still using my drawers I got at Michaels, but I've taken the cards out of the coupon holders. I just got too many cards and the holders were taking up too much space.


The inside of the drawers look like this.  I can fit two stacks of cards on one side and then several sets standing up on the other. I use binder clips to hold each set of cards together.


On top, I've got two baskets that I keep the current cards we are using for each grade level. The students know that if they get done with an assignment early, they can go get a set of cards.


I love the tags I put on the front of each one! I created this sheet with circles that I knew would fit inside my scalloped punch.


I trimmed down the top and bottom to get the punch to fit over the circle. I punched a hole in the top of each tag and then attached it with a metal hinged o-ring.


You can check out my new TASK CARD page and see what other ideas I have!


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bright Ideas Round Up!


Welcome to the November edition of the Bright Ideas Link- Up! This one is a special one! Over the past 10 months, we have shared thousands of great ideas through our monthly Bright Ideas event. This month, we’re re-capping all of those great ideas, just in case you missed any! Below you will find some of my bright ideas from the past several months:




I hope that you’ve enjoyed these bright ideas, and that you have found an idea that you can use in your own classroom. Be sure to check out the link up below for tons more bright ideas from my friends!



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Book Review Tuesday: KeeKee's Big Adventures in Athens Greece


KeeKee's Big Adventures in Athens, Greece written by Shannon Jones

Illustrated by Casey Uhelski

From the Publisher:

KeeKee is the adventurous calico kitty who travels the world in her hot air balloon. Her first stop was Paris. Then, Mamma mia! Rome, Italy! And now? Opa! It's Athens, Greece! 

Join KeeKee as she explores one of the oldest cities in the world with her guide, Evi. Children and adults will delight in discovering what makes Athens a must-visit destination, from it’s history and culture to food and hospitality.

My review:

I offered to review this book because we study Ancient Greece in 6th grade and I thought it would be a good way to introduce the unit.  Even though they are big kids, my student still enjoy having a picture book read to them.

The opening pages show a nice map so that your students can get an idea of where Athen is. It then goes on to covers such topics as ancient ruins, theaters, the Olympics, architecture, and Plato.

The back of the book includes a pronunciation guide for all the Greek words in the story and a glossary for reference.

This is definitely a book I would like to have on my shelf to use in my classroom.

You can purchase this book at the following retailers:

Barnes & Noble

Thanks go out to Calithumpian Press via NetGalley for a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.




Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Book Review Tuesday: The Industrial Revolution for Kids


The Industrial Revolution for Kids by Cheryl Mullenbach

From the publisher:

This educational activity book introduces young readers to the Industrial Revolution through the people, places, and inventions of the time, from the incredibly wealthy Rockefellers and Carnegies and the dingy and dangerous factories of the day to the creation of new forms of transportation and communication. By recounting this fascinating period in American history through the eyes of everyday workers, kids, sports figures, and social activists whose names never appeared in history books—including Hannah Montague, who revolutionized the clothing industry with her highly popular detachable collars and cuffs and Clementine Lamadrid, who either helped save starving New Yorkers or scammed the public into contributing to her one-cent coffee stands—this book helps tell the human stories of the Industrial Revolution. 

Twenty-one engaging and fun cross-curricular activities bring the times and technologies to life and allow for readers to make an assembly line sandwich, analyze the interchangeable parts of a common household fixture, weave a placemat, tell a story through photographs, and much more. Additional resources featured include books to read, places to visit, and websites to explore.

My Review:

I always enjoy this series of books and this is no exception. I love how they have stories from people that lived during this time period as well as pictures to give students an idea of what it was like back then. My students just love looking at pictures and seeing how things have changed.

Some of the activities that are included can easily be done in a classroom. Some of them include learning about Morse Code, designing a tenement space, model of an elevator, tracking manufactured items, inflate a dollar, do detective work, weave a placemat, and design a product for the World's Fair.

Listening to Talking Walls is an activity where children examine the exterior of older building to see if they can determine the history of the building.  My school in a historical part of the city and I totally see me kids getting into this activity. 

This book covers the good, the bad and the ugly that are the Industrial Revolution. The only thing I would have liked to have seen was how the Industrial Revolution started and evolved in Europe...

You can get this book at the following retailers:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble