In an effort to try to get you completely caught up with everything going on in our lives, I figured the most logical blog post needed to be about OUR GENDER REVEAL!

We knew that we wanted to find out if our baby was a boy or girl as soon as we could (we are extreme planners after all).  So, we opted to have the blood test done at about 12 weeks.  After the blood test, came 10-12 days of waiting.  Those felt like the longest days ever!

We always knew we wanted to find out if we were having a baby boy or a baby girl in a fun way.  However, my husband was adamant that if we were going to do a "reveal" with our friends and family, that it would need to be something awesome and manly for him to participate in.  I made it a personal challenge to find a super manly gender reveal idea.   When I showed him my idea using YouTube examples and Pinterest, he was hooked! YIPPEE!

I found this post on Pinterest as an inspiration.

Being that my husband is an avid gun lover, we knew guns and explosions were the perfect way to find out if we were having a son or daughter!

So after researching and watching YouTube video tutorials, we decided we needed the following items:

- 4 lbs of Tannerite (We bought ours at Academy Sporting Goods)
- 10 lbs blue chalk powder (We bought ours at Color Blaze)
- 10 lbs pink chalk powder (We bought ours at Color Blaze)
- cardboard box

After buying the Tannerite and chalk powder, I decided to decorate the cardboard box to look super cute.  I covered it in craft paper and painted it!

Now all we had to do was get the results to our blood test!

When the doctor finally called, I had her give the results to my sister-in-law.  That following Friday, my husband and I rushed home from work to our family's piece of land (where we would be shooting the Tannerite).  We were full of anticipation!

We set up the box on top of straw, so that we had a good view when it went off.

My sister-in-law had the large responsibility of putting the correct chalk powder (pink or blue) inside the box around the Tannerite.  After she did that, we were all set to go!  Check out our gender reveal video below!


 We are beyond excited about our baby girl due in May!

Some Big News!

Wow! It has been a VERY long time since I last wrote a post!  SO MUCH has happened since then!

My husband, Corey, and I are excited to announce that we are expecting our first child in May 2017!  We are beyond excited about this next chapter of our lives! (and our bulldog, Griffin, is too!)

How To: Internet Scavenger Hunts WebQuests

One of my most frequent questions on Teachers Pay Teachers is, "How do you use internet scavenger hunts, web quests, in your classroom?"  Great question!  Here's how:
  • All of my internet scavenger hunt web quests include an embedded link in the PDF.  

  • Students will need to click on this link to get to the website needed to answer the questions.  The easiest way to do this is to host the PDF on a website.  For example, my school uses ItsLearning to post assignments, homework, resources, etc.  I post my internet scavenger hunts on ItsLearning, so that my students can log on at school or at home to access them.  If you have a website for your classroom, Google docs, or a share drive for your school, these are great places to host the web quests!
  • Once your PDF is hosted on a site that the students can get to, you can make copies for each student to write their answers on.  I have my students fold and glue them in their Social Studies Notebooks, so they can be used as a study resource.
  • If all else fails, make copies for the kids and have them type in the web address carefully on a web  browser!  I've done that, too! :)
Interested in trying an internet scavenger hunt web quest in your classroom?!? 
Get my Declaration of Independence Internet Scavenger Hunt WebQuest FREEBIE here!

DIY: Classroom Rules Decor

This year, my grade level moved hallways, which meant a lot of packing and unpacking.  Since I was moving rooms, I took it as an opportunity to refresh my classroom decor.  I had been searching all over for some classroom decor inspiration on Pinterest and found one pin that kept catching my eye from kindercrazeblog.com.

In my classroom, there is always one spot that really irritates me because I can never find something big enough to take up the space above my whiteboard.  The whiteboard stretches almost the entire length of the front wall.  After seeing this pin, I thought this would be the perfect spot to display my classroom rules!  

I read kindercrazeblog.com's post about how they created their rules with subway art and wooden frames.  I was so bummed to find out that they got their frames from Michaels, but they are much more expensive now.  She got them for $3 each and in the store they are $7.99 now!  I knew I needed 6-8 frames and was not looking to break the bank on this project.

I headed to Michaels to see if I could find a cheaper alternative.   I searched and searched and was about to give up.  And then... I found the 50% off aisle!  They had various frames, but only 1 or 2 left of each.  There was one style that had a bunch, so I made it work!  The frames I found (similar to these) were not exactly what I had in mind, but I figured I could make it work!  They were $3.50 each and I had 25% my entire purchase coupon!  I got 6 wooden frames that had an 11x14 inch opening for $22 dollars!  

In kindercrazeblog.com's post, she spray painted her wooden frames.  I knew this would be easier, but it was much more expensive, since I wanted different colors for each frame.  Instead of buying spray paint, I bought acrylic paint and paint brushes.  All of those twists and turns in the wood scared me, but the acrylic paint was $0.69 a bottle!  SCORE!  I purchased three different colors: Craft Smart Bright Pink, Craft Smart Citron, and Americana Indian Turquoise.

I'm not going to lie, painting the frames was not the most fun/easy thing to do.  It took two coats of paint and I didn't worry about the inside edges of the frame, just the outer edge.

After I was finished painting, I let them dry for 24 hours.  I tried to recreate my own subway art classroom rules, similar to the ones in Kindercrazeblog.com's post.  Honestly, it was time consuming and didn't look nearly as good, so I ended up buying the ones in the blog by Maria Manore Gavin.  You can find them here.

My issue was there was only 5 classroom rules and I wanted 6 frames.  3 on each side of my clock on the front wall.  So, I made my own "In Our Class, We..." sign.  FREEBIE ALERT: You can find it on my TeachersPayTeachers here: In Our Class, We... Subway Art Poster FREEBIE

My issue with the printable signs was that the wooden frames fit 11x14 photos and I could only print the paper 8.5 x 11.  So, I printed the subway art in color and glued it onto bright colored construction paper that I had in my classroom (you can buy this at Staples, OfficeMax, HobbyLobby, etc.)  I glued two pieces of 8.5 x 11 together to fit around the entire piece of paper.  After gluing them together, I laminated them to give them a little more structure.  

Now came the fun part: hanging them up!  This required hubby and a ladder.  I taped the laminated posters up temporarily to make sure they were spaced correctly.  Then, I hot glued the laminated posters up in their correct spots above the whiteboard.  After I hot glued, I used Scotch Mounting Squares that I had purchased from Target.

I cut the double sided mounting squares into smaller pieces, so they would not show behind the frames.  I put one little square on each corner of the wooden frame and carefully lined the frames up over the laminated posters.  Slowly, my classroom rules were coming together!

I am so happy with how these turned out!  It is a focal point in my classroom and I love that I can reference my classroom rules easily throughout the year!  Here are a few more pictures!

Open House 2015

It's hard to believe, but it is back to school time already!  Last week, I met my 25 anxious fourth graders at Open House.  Growing up in New Jersey, we didn't have the option to meet our teacher or see our classroom before the first day of school.  Looking back on it, I wish we did because it can definitely ease some (not all) of those nerves!

This year I went with a different approach for Open House.  In the past, I've been so concerned about getting required papers back signed that night.  But instead of putting my focus on requirements, I made my own requirement: ENJOY MEETING MY NEW STUDENTS!  Seems simple.. and it was always a priority... but it was never my sole focus.  

This year, I organized my flow for Open House in a simple way.  Here's what I did:

1.  Easy desk layout for parents and students.

2.  Make a special treat for the kiddos! (Or two! :) )

3.  Personalize something for each student.  I wrote each student a small letter on the back of the postcard.  I got these postcards about 2 years ago in finally remembered to use them!

4.  Put the unneeded paperwork out of sight.  I used a manila envelope and sealed it with the papers that the parents could look at on their own time.

5.  Simplify the paperwork!  I used a flipbook from Chalk and Apples that I bought on TpT.  It's editable and amazing!  Click Here to Find the Flipbook on TPT!

6.  Create a parent checklist.  Let's be honest... they have just as much trouble following directions as the kids do! haha

7.  Enjoy meeting your new students!!!

I hope you all have an awesome Open House!  This time of year can be CrAzY for teachers!  Do your best to put it all aside and focus on those new faces in your classroom! :)

You CAN do it all!

This past weekend, my husband and I had an awesome time in Las Vegas!  We went for two reasons: the Teachers Pay Teachers conference and a UFC event.  Both were beyond amazing!  As I sat through the TPT conference, I was flooded with information about making my TPT store grow.  But when I sat back and reflected on the experience, I realized that it was not only about making my store grow, but how I could grow as a teacher, creator, and business person.  It was in that moment that I had a bit of an epiphany.
My epiphany was this:  You CAN do it all!
So many people attribute their lack of performance in life, work, family, etc. to their lack of time.  I think maybe there is enough time, it is how we spend it that becomes our problem.

Erin Cobb, from I'm Lovin' Lit, gave out these LIFE CHANGING planners at her TPT session (Check it out here!).  I cannot wait to put mine to use!  I often feel so overwhelmed with day to day happenings that so many things fall to the wayside.  Now, don't get me wrong... I am often labeled an organizational freak and a planner of all planners.  But still, I often go to sleep wishing I had time managed to accomplish more throughout the day.  Whether it was putting more time to creating TPT products, cleaning the house, walking the dog, cooking a better dinner.  It is always something, right?!
So.. I vow to use my awesome planner in an effort to organize ALL aspects of my life!

Today is the day to start new... with the attitude... YOU CAN DO IT ALL!

Here are a couple of my personal favorite photos of our trip to Vegas!

Our view from our hotel room!
 Some new Alex and Ani bracelets! I had to get the teacher apple of course! :)
Hubby and I at the UFC Fight! 

Starting a New Adventure...

Welcome!  Let me first introduce myself!  My name is Erin Kathryn, or Jersey Girl Gone South on Teachers Pay Teachers.  I have been teaching 4th grade for three years and love every minute of it!  About a year ago, I created my Teachers Pay Teachers store and as I begin my week long Thanksgiving Break (YIPPEE!!!!!!) I decided to start a new adventure....a blog!  I want to share my highs....lows....and in-betweens as I navigate through my teaching/creating career! :)