Creative Teaching Press: Favorite Collection & Giveaway

      There's a good chance that you're either already done with the 2014-15 school year, or are like me, and are still counting down the days til Summer Vacation. {3 MORE DAYS PEOPLE!} Some of you may also, like me, already be thinking about BTS15 and how you're going to decorate your room. It's okay to admit it. We, as teachers, simply can't help ourselves. I want to highlight some products from my favorite Creative Teaching Press collection, Inspire U that are on my must-haves list for classroom decor.
      This collection does exactly as titled...Inspires! I already have several of the Chalk It Up! posters in my classroom. I absolutely love the positive messages they give my students. When my principal first came into my room at open house, he immediately noticed the posters and asked where I got them, he loved them that much! If that doesn't tell you how awesome they are, I don't know what does!
      I'm so so excited that Creative Teaching Press has even MORE brand new Inspire U posters in not only the Chalk it Up! collection, but also the Painted Palette. EEK! They are so pretty! I love how colorful they are! Here are some of my favorites...can you sense a theme?

        I try so hard to make sure my students know that we learn best when making mistakes. I often will purposely (sometimes not purposefully) make mistakes to see if they're really paying attention or really understand a concept. They love when their teacher messes up, but I think it's because they know that it's okay to, and everyone makes mistakes. Third grade is hard stuff people! Do you have a student(s) that are pure perfectionists?! They use those erasers down to the itty bitty, because they strive for perfection. Those kiddos are the ones I really have to remind it's okay to make mistakes. These posters add a great visual reminder, as I can easily point to them and say, "but remember...". 
       Not only am I thinking BTS15...I'm also thinking about the holiday season! This teacher loves to deck out the room for holidays, especially Halloween and Christmas. Creative Teaching Press makes it easy to put together seasonal bulletins with their mini bulletin board sets, like this NEW Happy Halloween Mini Bulletin Board Set
 You can easily coordinate with the Chalk it Up! and Painted Palette boarders for the perfect Halloween bulletin board. I'm thinking I will need to use this for Halloween Inferencing!
Can you say adorable and festive?!
Skipping along to absolute favorite time of the year! How cute is this NEW Tis the Season Mini Bulletin Board Set?! 
I love that the elves are posable! So much fun! And of course you can pair the Chalk it Up! and Painted Palette borders with this set, too! The Chalk it Up! holiday light boarder is perfect!
Now that I've got you excited about some of the new items from Creative Teaching Press, I bet you're ready to shop, huh? Well, how about $50 to CTP?! Enter below!

Go visit my friend Kimberly Ann at Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten to see more of the Chalk it Up! collection!
Make sure to follow me on BlogLovin' for more CTP announcements as CTP is celebrating 50 years of teachers helping teachers. It was 50 years ago that a veteran school teacher named Luella Connelly got the idea to make her creative ideas for fun and effective teaching available to other teachers. And with the success of her “Recipes for Creative Writing,” CTP was born! Since then, generations of teachers have looked to our family-owned, teacher-managed company for the supplementary materials they need to help their students learn and make their classrooms a positive learning environment.

Part 1: Miss Johnston Plans a Wedding

Please forgive me for the non-educational post, but if you follow me on Instagram, you know I have been busy planning my wedding....that is happening in ONE MONTH! AHHH!!! Jason and I are getting so excited! In case you missed the proposal....

That was on July 23, 2014. Two days later, we drove down to Oklahoma to visit my dad, grandparents, and brother and sister-in-law. We had this vacation already planned...and Jason purposely proposed when he did, so we could share the excitement with my family. It was about a 10 hour drive to Oklahoma from Iowa...perfect time for wedding planning...and asking Jason lots of questions.
First thing's first....get yourself a wedding binder, and include tabs. In mine I have contracts, vendors, photography, venue, and ideas. First thing I have is a spiral so I can write things down as I think of them. I love this Up&Up binder, because it comes with a snap pouch that I can include little pamphlets and things in. I also put in some invites we had received for inspiration when I designed ours.

Think about what your priority is for your wedding. Jason and I's were food and fun. We're definitely going the whole 9 yards with food! I won't tell you how much it is a person...but I have to pick up people's jaws off the floor when they find out! It also includes an open bar. So there's the fun! Jason and I are having what's considered a destination wedding. I found this place on The Knot about a year before Jason proposed, and fell in love via pictures. When we went to visit in August, that was it. My heart was set on it. I told Jason I didn't care if I had to eat ramen noodles and peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for the whole school year. Luckily, I have not had to do that...mostly thanks to L. Paull Designs for All. So it was decided...on June 12, 2015, Jason and I would get married in Galena, IL at Eagle Ridge Resort & Spa.
Now I needed my bridesmaids! I asked my best friends by sending each of them a little package of goodies!
Bridesmaid dresses. Ugh. I've been in a couple weddings, and am in another later this summer. I've had my share of bridesmaid dresses. I wanted to make sure my maids were comfortable. For example, I hate strapless dresses. I've had 2 dresses that were strapless. If they wanted strapless, that was fine...but I wasn't going to push it. I also didn't care if they had different styles. My most important thing was that each were comfortable and felt beautiful. I chose to go David's Bridal because originally my sister-in-law was supposed to be a bridesmaid, and she lives in Oklahoma. I learned from being in her wedding, it was really easy for her to tell me what dress, go to my local DB, get that dress, try it on, and I was done within 30 minutes.
My experience at DB was awful. I don't even want to get into the details, but I will never, by choice, step foot in another one. The kicker is my sister-in-law is now expecting and will be 7 months pregnant at the wedding, so she's not going to stand up with me. So...I could have gone somewhere else. Oh well...their dresses are beautiful!

One thing I knew I didn't care too much about was flowers. In my mind, flowers are a waste. Not that I don't like flowers, but they're expensive people. Why should I pay all this money on something that's just going to die in a couple days? So, I decided on silk flowers, and my mom did all the arrangements for me. She watched YouTube videos and voila! I think it's important to consider things that you can do for a lower cost. Flowers was one area that I cut costs.
All the bouquets, corsages, and boutonnieres!
Bad lighting, but my bouquet with pearls and rhinestones.
Wrapped with pearls and lace.
Speaking of flowers, you probably want to know what centerpieces are. AHHH! I love them! I wanted to include my students in my wedding in some way, and I found the perfect way. Right before spring break, I had each student do 3 things.
1. Draw a picture of Jason and I on our wedding day.
2. Write their best advice for a happy wedding.
3. Write why they think people get married.
Add those to some colored paper and washi tape...insert in frame. Perfect!
Advice: "Jason has to listen to you."
Why do you people get married: "To have babies!

My mom and I spray painted the frames from IKEA with Chalkboard paint. I have a subtle teacher theme in my wedding, so there are a few  chalkboard accents scattered in the decor. I took some chalk and decorated the frames for a little more color. My table numbers are cute little chalkboards! The tables will also have Gerber daisies, my favorite! We are also using chalkboard paper from Target on the tables, displayed with chalk for people to doodle and write messages.

Since we are paying so much for dinner, I had to get a little bit creative with certain things. Luckily, I have a family friend who offered to do all of our printing!
Save the Dates
Wedding Invitations
Top half of invite front
Top Half back
Bottom Half, gray dotted line is perforated so RSVP gets thrown in the mail, and hometown reception card goes on the fridge.
Bridal Shower Thank Yous

Mad Lib Guest Book
Hometown Reception Post Cards- You see, since we're having a destination wedding, we had to limit our guest list, so Jason's parents to decided to throw us a more casual hometown reception so we could celebrate with all of our family and friends.
I absolutely love them. I created all of the graphics, including the silhouettes. The fonts are by Kimberly Geswein.

I loved the idea of a personalized hanger, but those things can be pricey! But, if you have a Silhouette Portrait or Cameo, it's easy peasy and inexpensive. My mom bought a 5 pack of wooden hangers at Wal-Mart for like $4. I then ordered mint vinyl here. I ordered 3 12x12in sheets for less than $10 (including shipping). I used my trusty Portrait to cut out the lettering, adhered it to my hanger, added coral ribbon, and BOOM! A personalized wedding hanger for less than $15. And I have a plan for the other 4 it ends up being less than $3 each! SCORE!

I also used the vinyl to make part of Jason's groomsmen's gift. Jason is getting a nice bottle of liquor for them to enjoy the day of, and I personalized tumblers from Target. Perfect!
During Jason and I's relationship (4 years in July) we have been in  4 weddings. There are so many detail questions...where, when, what, etc. So, I decided I need to make something to help our bridal party know exactly the plan. I've made several flipbooks for my classroom and have them on TpT. I decided I could easily make my template into a Bridal Party Agenda Flipbook!

And you can download your free, editable copy HERE!

Something else that has helped me be organized is getting using a small index card holder like this. I got this one at Dollar Tree.
I labeled it with the different groupings we did when we created our guest list. So each RSVP has their home!
Okay...have I overloaded you quite yet? I hope not! I hope you have found it informative, inspiring, and enjoyable! In late June or early July, I will be posting Part II, Miss Johnston Gets Married! Late July will be my the finale, Part III, The Paull's Parade Disney! Our Magic Bands ship this week!!! For more wedding planning images, check out the hashtag #missj2mrspaull


Graphing Authentically Using your TpT Sales

So this week was the BIG Teacher Appreciation Sale over on TpT. There have been a few times when I've accidentally left my phone on, and my TpT app has cha-chinged during school. The first time it happened, the class was completely quiet and it scared the heebee geebees outta of my kiddos. I then, of course, had to explain what it was. They were so fascinated and asked what things I sold on this website. So I told them the different things we were working on that I sell, and some things that I have bought from other teachers on this site.

I decided that I would purposely keep my phone on during the sale May 5-6, and I would have the kiddos keep track of my cha-chings. They were so cute! With each cha-ching they would applaud as a class. It was hilarious! My colleague across the hall came in and said..."did we get a cha-ching?" Oh, I could tell that this was a great idea!
Such a great idea, that I needed to keep it going. So we kept track through Friday.
Then I started thinking...How cool would it be for my students to take this data and graph it. You see, we have 15 days left, and we haven't touched on data and graphing too much. *LIGHT BULB* I decided to print off my excel sheet of my sales May 1-8 of this year (4 of the days we kept track).
To find this, go to your Sales Details, and scroll to the bottom to find the generate excel file.
I also printed off centimeter grid paper.
I was really excited to do this impromptu activity with my kiddos. I started explaining that we were going to graph each day's sales in May. I told them that before we started the graph, we needed to come up with a title for our had to be clear to those who saw it, what information they were looking at. We came up with "Miss J's TpT Sales May 1-8".
We then talked about the x and y axes, and what information we would have. I explained that we wanted to use as much as the grid as possible, so we decided each day would be 1 cm wide, and separate each day with 2 cm. We then talked about labeling the y axis. I told them we needed to see what our maximum sales number was. The students immediately went to their excel sheets and determined that 13 was the highest. (Don't judge if that's normal for you...and hang in there if that's a rarity for you). We determined that we could only do 1cm=1sale, so our max would be 16 sales on our grid.
Next, it was time to draw our bars. We started with the 1st, and I asked them how many sales I had on May 1st. They were quickly able to tell me 3. I asked them I would show that on my graph. My little smarties knew they'd need to fill in 3 sq cm. We did the 1-3 together, then I sent them off to do 4-8 on their own.
After I saw that most kiddos were done, we went through them together. They did a super job! I then posed these 4 questions to them to answer on the back of their grid paper.
And what do ya know? While they were writing their answers, we got a cha-ching! They applauded, and I told them they needed to show that extra sale in their graph.

I loved this activity because the kids had so much buy in. They knew how I got the information, recorded their own data, created a graph, and analyzed the data. I've already decided we will be doing this for the rest of the school year. On Friday, we're going to create double bar graphs to compare 2014-2015. I can't wait! :)

If you try this out with your students, I would love for you to email me at or tag me on Instagram, @missjohnstonsjourney.

Happy Graphing! Graphics used in this posts images can be found in my TpT Store.
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