Sunday, April 28, 2013

Oceans of Winners!

Hello everyone and Happy Sunday!  You know what that means... the day to do everything you didn't do Saturday!  :)  I need to switch that around somehow.  I think I would be happier on Monday if I relaxed on Sunday versus Saturday.

ANYWAYS, it's complete!  My Oceans of Fun Math & Literacy Packs.  That means it's time for one really lucky winner... (I know there were 14 comments but one of them was mine so it doesn't count!)

And lots of other lucky winners that get to receive my Oceans of ABC's practice pack!  I will email you all the pack shortly.

You can get the bundled pack at my store for 20%, plus an additional 20% because I'm having a sale on everything till April 30th!  Head on over to my store and come check them out!  Here's some fun stuff that's included...
Sea Sound Spin (Beginning Sounds)

Crab Count & Clip It (#'s 1-20)

Seashell Segmenting (CVC, CCVC and CVCC Words)

Thanks everyone and have a great week!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Oceans of Friday Fun, Freebie and a Flash Giveaway!

Happy Friday friends!  WOW what a busy time of year this is.  My head is spinning, but I wanted to take some time to share the fun we've been having learning about the ocean.  Read on for some freebies AND a flash giveaway!  :)

First of all I'm sorry I wasn't able to snap very many pictures this week!  In between job hunting, finalizing summer field trip calendars, planning for PreK Continuation, and getting ready for conferences I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  But here's what I DID manage to get snapshots of this week:

Here's some of the great books we read this week...

The activities above are from my new Oceans of Fun Math & Literacy packs!  The Literacy pack is up and posted to TPT; I hope to put the finishing touches on the Math pack this weekend.  Which brings me to my FLASH Giveaway!  One lucky follower will receive both of my new packs.  Just leave a comment below (make sure to include your email address) and I will pick the winner sometime early Sunday afternoon.  In the meantime, you can check out the rest of what's included in the pack by clicking below:

Good luck everyone!  Don't forget to check out the other great Friday Freebies!

Freebie Fridays

Monday, April 22, 2013

Under the Sea Freebie!

Hello everyone!  I hope you had a great Monday!  Here's a treat to see you through the week...

This CVC freebie is a part of a larger Ocean-themed Roll Say Keep series (including more CCVC, CVCC, Sight Words and Alphabet Recognition).  Check out the complete set at my store by clicking here!

Don't forget to check out the other great freebies at Manic Monday...

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
And I'll see you Friday with more Ocean-themed fun and freebies!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

My Job Hunt Journey Part One: The Basics

Welcome to my Job Hunt Journey Part One!  I'm sorry I've fallen off the face of the Earth.  I promise I've bookmarked all your amazing recent posts in my "To Check Out" folder!

What's been consuming my time?  The Job Hunt, of course!  Thanks everyone for the great advice and encouragement.  I have been doing a lot of soul-searching and praying and I decided to take the plunge and start applying for a new position.  So far I've only been applying for Kindergarten because that is definitely where I feel called (so much for all my student teaching and field experiences in 6th grade!)

I've been doing a LOT of research (on the web, job fair magazines, etc.) on how to get a teaching job and I decided to share what I've learned in a series of blog posts!  I hope it's helpful to have all the following great information in one place.  So, let's get down to it... the basics!

To sum up all the most repetitive advice I received, I would say this:
  • Use buzzwords
    • Limit "I" statements
    • Use keywords the school/district is looking for (e.g. technology integration)
    • Use strong, active verbs (for example, instead of saying "Experience with integrating technology" change it to "Integrated technology")
  • Prominently feature accomplishments
    • Be specific
  • Keep it clear, organized and professional
    • Use bullet points
    • Use a standard font
    • Don't use clip art!
    • Obviously... check your GRAMMAR!  Don't just read it yourself; ask others to look it over for you as well.
So, trying to keep all this in mind, here's what I came up with... and yes it's two pages!  There is a lot of conflicting advice on resume length.  Some people say one page, some people say two.  At any rate, definitely don't go longer than two pages!

Let me know what you think!  I am most definitely not the resume expert.  For more resume tips, you can check out these resources:

Cover Letter
You've got a few options for your cover letter: either a general school-district cover letter, or school-specific ones.  Your choice will depend on your time frame and how many attachments the school district will allow you to have on your online application.  Either way you've got a little bit of homework to do!  Try to incorporate the following into your cover letter...
  • Who reviews the online applications?  Is it principals, or is it a selection committee and/or hiring manager?  Call the school district's HR to find out so you can address your cover letter accordingly.  When dropping off cover letters at individual schools or emailing principals, naturally use the principal's name.
  • What is the school/school district mission?  What matters to them and what are they looking for in their teachers? (Note: Look at the school's parent handbook!)
  • What curriculum and teaching philosophies does the school/school district follow?  (Note: Classroom Websites are a great place to find this information!)
Here is one of my school-specific cover letters.  In the opening, I introduced myself and expressed my interest in the position.  In the middle bodies, I went into specifics about why I would be a good fit.  In the conclusion, I thanked the reader and invited them to look at my e-portfolio.  

Here are some cover letter resources...

Business Card
I have always ordered my business cards from Vistaprint.  They are very affordable and turn out great!  Vistaprint has a variety of templates you can choose from, or you can make your own.  This time I went with a pre-made template because I am just so busy.  Here's the layout I went with (I love the bright primary colors):

How Do I Stand Out?
Color is one of those things I found a lot of mixed advice about.  Some people suggest using a splash of color on the resume, other people say to print the resume on colored paper.  At first I went with a bright yellow file jacket from Office Depot (color-coordinated with my business card), but printed my resume onto nice white resume paper.  The file jacket included my business card, cover letter, resume, references, and two recent letters of recommendation.

THEN I read a post on A-Z Teacher Forums about creating a mini-portfolio to give to principals.  At first I was scared.  Too out of the box?  Too creative?  Too much on top of my e-portfolio?  Then I remembered my favorite piece of advice from my bloggy friends: just be yourself.  If putting in the extra time, effort, and creativity for a mini folio disqualifies me for a position, do I really want to work there anyway?

Sooooo I created a mini portfolio to go in the file jacket instead (color-coordinated to the business card, of course!)  Mini as in 20 pages.  I prefer to look at it as 10 double-sided pages.  (What can I say?  I'm an English major.  Brevity is beyond me!)

I drop off my file jacket at schools and email the principal a few days later.  I don't ask to see the principal when visiting the school; they are very busy and often don't appreciate drop-ins like that, but I do make sure to be very friendly to the secretary!  I can't overstate how important it is to smile and make a good impression on the secretary.  All of my interviews have come from places where I made good contact with the school secretary.  I also email the school secretary after the drop-off, thanking her for taking the time to deliver my portfolio.

I also recommend you check out The Cornerstone for Teachers on How to Get a Job as a Teacher.  This article includes great advice and insights from teachers and administrators!

Next up: Professional Portfolios!  I will be talking about my Mini Hiring Portfolio, Digital Portfolio, and Professional Binder Portfolio.  Hope everyone is having a good week!