TPT Back to School Sale

You may already be in school, headed back this week, or still have a few weeks of summer vacation left. Regardless, for the next few days it’s time to think about work and shop the deals at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Shop the Sale with the code, BestYear.

740 × 400

I’ve been sharing ideas with a few fellow librarian store owners. They’ve got some great new products available!

Kathy Cool, a fellow Virginia librarian, just finished the intensive job of putting together a Library Substitute Binder. Check out her Staying Cool in the Library store.


Cari Young has many great ideas for kicking off your library year in style. I love her Book Babies package to help younger students learn about book care.


Jessica Lodge, has many library centers products that are tried and true for your library. Her new Engineering Center is perfect for any library space.


avatar_TPT_riskingfailureAs for myself, I’ve made revisions to several packages so they’ll be better for use in your library. I have more ideas in store for the coming year. If you login and then click the “Follow Me” star, you’ll get updates and alerts of new products when I post them. Happy shopping!

TPT February 2014 Sale

RF_TPT_Feb_SaleOn Thursday and Friday, Teachers Pay Teachers is celebrating its a mile marker with their 300 teacher registered by throwing a 300 Teachers Strong Sale. All of my things are on sale for 20% off and then if you use the code TPT3 at checkout you can get an additional percentage off! A great way to end the month of February!

If you’re anything like me, right now you need something to celebrate. I admit I don’t quite have it in me at the moment. I will not be posted a blog for your school site on Friday. I hope to get some blog posts ready to go over the weekend. Sometimes you just have to take a breath in a more figurative way than actually breathing.

I do hope you enjoy the sale though! I can’t wait to surf and find some new things to pick up. I know that Mrs. Lodge’s Library has posted several new things in the past month that are worth checking out. I think her store is going to be my first stop!

Cheers everyone!


Dr. Seuss Planning

Seuss Week ideas, bulletin boards, and new Word Cloud printables. | Risking-Failure.comSince I never think ahead far enough, I’m trying to do so for Read Across America Week and World Read Aloud Day.

There is a team planning Read Across America Week so I’m not in it alone. I’m mainly responsible for the schedule for World Read Aloud Day. In the past we’ve had a lot of outside visitors come read to the students throughout the entire week. Frankly, an initiative like that is hard to schedule. Teachers accommodate their schedules to the readers who are sometimes running late or cancel at the last minute. Often, the students have no personal connection to the reader. This year we decided to try and make it a more meaningful experience by asking our staff inside the school to mix it up and read to students they have a connection with, but don’t see often. We are also inviting our peripheral staff to read to students, such as our crossing guards, office staff, and cafeteria manager. Teachers can determine their ideal time for inviting a guest reader to their classroom; readers will voluntarily sign up for the time that works best with their schedule. We’re seeing this as a win-win and I’m excited about placing the emphasis on World Read Aloud Day!

We will celebrate each day by sharing a video of a staff member reading a book related to our daily dress-up theme. We’ve picked four books for Monday-Thursday and will put the videos on our internal shared drive for teachers to show to their classes at their convenience. The week will finish up with grade-level celebrations during the specials rotation. During each celebration we will do some dancing, fitness, readers theater, and the final video of staff reading. We did a video last year catching staff members in the hallway and asking them to read a page or two from one of Dr. Seuss’ books. The students loved it! Especially the ‘outtakes’ that I included.

We usually sing some of the songs from Seussical. My favorite Green Eggs and Ham song is from Literacy in Motion.

I do like to do a bulletin board or something related to the month. Last year was my absolute favorite one!

Seuss Silhouette Bulletin Board. |

This year I passed the silhouettes along with another past display to other librarians. Several years ago I made large posters of Worldles for four Dr. Seuss books. I made the mistake at the office supply store asking to have the posters printed without asking about pricing…(not one of my brightest moments). I now treat those posters like gold! I can’t use them again in my space and it makes sense to share those things. This year I want to do something interactive and decided to go back to the word cloud idea. I made 20 word clouds for different Dr. Seuss books. I think I can fit 12 or 15 on my bulletin board. I’m going to number each and provide answer slips for students to guess during the month of March. We’ll start during Read Across America and end the contest the last week of March when I have our next Book Fair scheduled. Students who are winners and have their names drawn will win Book Fair discounts.

Word Clouds: Seuss Style are available from Teachers Pay Teachers. 20 books with 2 sizes of posters for each book. There are also center signs and slips for guessing which title is displayed. They’re on sale for 50% off for a few days!

Word Clouds: Seuss Style. For sale at TeachersPayTeachers. |

Word Clouds: Seuss Style. For sale at TeachersPayTeachers. |

I’m going to set up a Library Center with one or two word clouds each week. Students can use the word cloud as inspiration for their own Seuss-Style stories, using his vocabulary as a starting point. I’ll also put out Cari’s Fish Estimation Center, which was a hit last year. I think I’ll leave my photo frame center packed up and save it for a future year. There are so many great Seuss ideas out there! What are your favorites for celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday each year?

Winter Olympics Blog Post

Winter Olympics at Sochi blog post for students. | The third time is a charm they say, so here’s another post for my student blog. I’m continuing to keep it updated weekly with current events and topics. I try not to overlook it, but without a plan I forget about it too easily. If you have a similar space you might be interested in this content as well. I have sets of blog posts at TeachersPayTeachers and I’m adding individual posts, which are free. If you can use them and like them then you might want to consider a donation. I’m continuing with my new TeachersPayTeachers pricing model for some of my content. Only pay for what you like and use. This Winter Olympics post is here.

Every two years countries cWinter Olympics at Sochi blog post for students. | Risking-Failure.comome together to celebrate athletes, culture, and team spirit during Olympic Games. The modern Olympics began in 1896 and have seen many milestones since then. There are now summer Olympics and winter Olympics to celebrate many different kinds of sports. Most countries in the world participate, even when there are disagreements and difficulties.

I hope that during the days in February you have time to watch some of your favorite sports and discover new ones! All of the events will be held in Russia around the town of Sochi. (Click here to hear how the name “Sochi” is pronounced!) Winter Olympics are usually held in a city where there is enough snow for athletes to be able to ski, skate, and slide.

There are many sources to read about the Sochi Olympics. Start at Time For Kids to learn how much work happened to get ready for the variety of sporting events being held in Sochi. There needs to be rinks ready for speed skating, ice skating, and hockey. Outdoor events of skiing and snowboarding need to have courses prepared. The bobsled, luge, and skeleton races have special tracks that are built. Many more buildings are needed to hold event and to provide places for people to live and eat. If you are art-smart and like to draw, you might want to follow these steps to draw some of your favorite winter events. You’ll see that each event requires different skills, equipment and teamwork!

Athletes participate in the games as individuals, groups and teams. They practice their sport for many years before being accomplished enough to attend the games. Each athlete must compete in their country to qualify for their Olympic Team. Each country is allowed to send only a few athletes in each sport to the Olympics. They will gather together on February 7th at the Opening Ceremonies where it all begins!

Thanks for reading! I hope my students will be as excited about these Olympics as I was when I was a kid watching skiing, skating, and sliding. I only wish dog sledding could be an Olympic sport! I have fond memories of puppies, dogs, and sled-riding!

Winter Olympics at Sochi needs Dog Sledding! |

Winter Olympics at Sochi needs Dog Sledding! |

Reading Calendars

RF_wacky_reading_calendarsDon’t ask me why I did this project…

But here it is, and maybe someone can use it? Possibly?

A calendar for each month includes reading challenges related to wacky holidays, author birthdays, and more! Each calendar includes 30 reading challenges that can be done in any order. The challenges include reading specific books, genres, authors, or reading while doing quirky things: like sitting in an empty bathtub or reading a book backwards. There are no time requirements listed for the challenge. They are created strictly for fun and to encourage students to read things that might be new to them.

The calendars are geared toward 2nd and 3rd grade readers, but older students may enjoy them and younger students may be able to complete them with family support.

The challenges were created with inspiration from obscure holiday lists and lists of author birthdays so the topics included often have a connection to things like “Take Your Pet to Work Day” or “Make a List Day.”

Wacky Reading Calendars: January and AprilIf you are interested in taking a look, they are free at TeachersPayTeachers. If you look at them, like them, use them, and wish to make a donation, you can do that also at my store. It’s part of a new pricing model I’m trying out for teachers to pay for what they like and to determine a value right for their use of the product.

I made these so that I can keep a stack of them available in the library for students to take home. I will probably also post it on my library website for anyone who wishes to print them off. It’s a quick way to make reading suggestions to families and to encourage families to read together!