Tuesday, July 30, 2013

School is in the Air

WOW! Today was registration day at school. It is a day where you can sense the excitement in the air. Students are excited to see old teachers and friends and cannot wait to find out who their new teacher is. They hope to maybe get to meet or see their new teacher and find out if their friends will be in their room. It is a crazy, fun day!

I had the fun job of door greeter. I L-O-V-E this job because I get to see everyone as they come in and leave. (and don't have to deal with the paperwork :) )I get to see all my old sweeties (and wonder how they have grown so much) and get to meet some of my new sweeties. It was so great to see my sweeties from last year since I left unexpectedly early on maternity leave. I love getting hugs from those precious kiddos but I know they will do great in 1st grade.

 The countdown is on now for Meet the Teacher! Meet the Teacher is the more formal day to go the classroom, get all that important info stuff and have a chance to get to know their new teacher. I can already sense it is going to be a great year. I just can't believe we start in 2 1/2 weeks! EEK!

Here is my newest 0-20 Number Posters. This set is ia fun green/blue chevron Pattern. It would go great with a chevron theme, blue/green classroom ,beachy theme and many others! Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Hello. My name is Katie Farr and I am a label-aholic.

I L-O-V-E to label everything in my classroom. It adds a pop of color at the beginning of the school year before all of the kiddos work is hung up. It makes my students take some responsibility to spell words correctly. AND it helps keep me organized. There is just something about a cute label that makes me more likely to put it back in its place.

Labels+CHEVRON=one HAPPY teacher! :)

I wish I had a cute picture to show you my classroom with all kinds of things labeled but that is just not possible. SC has been a monsoon state lately AND our roof was being fixed this summer so....there have been leaks and messes everywhere. We still have a couple weeks to go before school starts so I am trying not to stress yet. I am so ready to get my furniture in place and make the room feel happy. I believe that will make the pile of back to school paperwork a little easier. :)

So since I can't share pictures of my classroom. Here are the labels that I have created!

 Isn't this chevron so bright and happy?! I love it! There are 36 different labels included in this pack. Plus, I included a matching name plate!  Read the description and view the preview to see what is included. You can find this pack here!

 This chevron just seems so calm and relaxing! This pack includes the same labels as the pack above with just a different frame. You can get it here!

Can;t decide which chevron you like best? Or maybe you want a mixture of the two? Then this bundle is for you! I will also be updating this bundle with more chevron labels. So you will save big by buying this bundle and being able to constantly download the new files! You can get it here!

Who wants to join my label-aholic club?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DonorsChoose Tips and Tricks

Are you a DonorsChoose junkie like me? Or maybe you hear all about it but just not sure where to start and how to fund? Well, one of my favorite tips to share with teachers is about DonorsChoose. I started the journey a year before I ever posted a project. Yes, a year before I ever posted!! I started an account and just watched from afar. I was in my first year of teaching and I just wasn't convinced I had time to devote to a project and to my classroom. Boy, how I wish I could go back and post a project as soon as I joined!

I have been fortunate to have had 6 projects fund in less than a year! (I finally posted my first project in August after a staff meeting!) This is a very small number compared to many others who have had hundreds fund! I am awe of those teachers!! So are you looking to start or maybe need some new ideas on funding? Then I have some tips for you!

Planning your Project

  1.   When you first join and start your account you will want to upload a photo as soon as possible. Use an eye catching photo! Use a photo that is relevant to your classroom. Make your donors identify with your classroom through your picture. Your picture just like your title is one of the first things a donor notices. Once you have gained lots of supporters they will recognize you by your picture. Make it good and eye catching!
  2. First think about your students and your classroom needs. Start small, try not to think of everything you need but something specific. This will make it easier to write your project.
  3. Search DonorsChoose for projects that are wanting the same materials as you. This will help you find the stores that carries the materials you need. It will also give you an idea of how others wrote a project with  a similar concept in mind.
  4. On the DonorsChoose website visit Partner Funding Opportunities On this page click on your state that you teach in. There are often many opportunities listed that companies will match up to 50% of your project cost! This drastically reduced the amount that you have to raise. Often you just need to tweak your project a bit or be sure to add certain words or phrases for your project to qualify.

    Writing your Project

    1. Write a catchy title. Use play on words from children's book, songs, rhymes etc. Your title will be one of the first things a potential donor will notice. Make it catchy so they want to click and read more!
    2. After you have created your title it will be time to shop! Take your time  when shopping. Visit several different stores and price match. Your goal is to create a project with a reasonable cost. You want your donors spending the least possible for each item. (Just like when we are BTS shopping and we look for the best deal!) Project that cost <$400 have the best chance of funding and those that cost <$200 have an even greater chance. Once your project hits $99 you have an excellent chance for funding!
    3.  Now you are ready to summarize your cart. This step is important because this is a line that your donors will see when searching for projects. (They have to click to read more about your project. Search projects on DonorsChoose and you will see what I mean.) Be specific with the items you need and why you need it.
    4. Now it is time to tell your story! There are 4 parts to this process.
      1.  Write your challenge: Again this will be one of the first statements that potential donors will see. You want to keep it less than 80 characters and draw your donors into wanting to click to find out more!
      2. Write about your students: Describe your students. Is this a literacy project? Write about how they are as readers; their strengths and challenges. Is it for basic supplies? Write about the challenges facing your students on why they cannot provide these supplies. Make it connect with your project!
      3. Overview of resources: Explain in detail how these resources will help your students. What will they be able to accomplish. What can they do now or can't do because of the lack of the materials. Make your potential donors envision or goal. Help them become passionate about your students and your classroom.
      4. Closing: In just a few short sentences reiterate the need and how their donation will help. How will it make a difference? Thank them for taking the time to read about your project.
         5.  Provide the final details. You will fill in details on what kind of resource your requesting, and what subject areas it will support. You will fill out how many students will benefit from this project and a few other easy peasy lemon squeezy questions.
  5. One of the last things you will do is select an expiration date. You want to give your project that longest time possible to fund. This gives you the best chance to receive a "Congratulations" email!!
  6.  Last, PROOFREAD!!!! Have a friend triple dog check your spelling for you, The last thing you want is to have an awesome project with an error and a donor decides not to donate.

Get this baby funded! PROMOTE!

  1. Congratulations you submitted a project and received an email that it is live, now what?!? It is time to promote, promote promote! Right now, DonorsChoose is offering an opportunity for all projects in the first 7 days of going live to have donations matched. You will give your donors the match code "inspire" and ask them to use when donating. You really want to promote during this time. Wouldn;t you rather spend $100 for a $200 project? So will your donors!
  2. A great way to get your project started it to be the first donor. Even if you just donate $1! With the match code that is $2 started on your project. It shows donors at first glance that 2 donors believe in this project (Some donors do not like to donate to a project that has 0 donors), and that the teacher who wrote the project believes in it enough to support it! We all buy so many items for our classroom each year that I am very willing to start off  my DonorsChoose project with a donation.
  3. Create an email and send it to friends and families.  I also send how a letter  home with my parents. I do not expect my parents to donate but I ask them to help spread the word to help their children gain necessary materials. They help me by sharing with their friends and families and sometimes businesses! The more eyes on your project the better chance for funding!
  4. Share your project on facebook, pinterest, twitter etc! Gauge  how often you want to share your project. I share sparingly on facebook because I do not want to clog up my friends newsfeed with requests. Instead I share when a project has posted, when match codes are available and when we are close to our goal. I tweet the project more often because I just don't feel overbearing there. But still usually once or twice a day. You decide how often you want to do this. Just reminder more eyes, more donors!
  5. Check out the DonorsChoose forum! You can find this on the left hand side when your are on your account page. Write a quick blurb about your project, connect with donors and other teachers!
  6. Connect with Giving Pages. Giving pages are a great community to connect with other teachers and donors. We work together to promote projects and donate to each others ($1) to help them out. Often Giving Pages offer contests to win cash for your project by just donating $1 to a project on their page. You want to try to get your project on 4-5 Giving Pages...more eyes, more donors! Check out the section below to find several Giving Pages on Facebook!
  7. There are over 20,000 projects posted at any given time. Be the advocate for your students and help your project get noticed amongst all of the others! 

Giving Pages

Regional Pages (Host projects from their region...but you can always be a member and support other regions!)
Southern Hospitality  : Page that hosts projects from the South!
Best in the Midwest : Midwest projects
Northern Lights :Projects from the North
Western Roundup :Projects from the West
Mid-Atlantic Projects for DonorsChoose : Projects from the Mid-Atlantic States
Carolina Girls On DonorsChoose : Projects for guys and gals from North and South Carolina

Some other great pages to check out:
Kindergarten Rocks!: This is awesome page that loves kindergarten but also focuses on other grade levels
Mrs. Kinder Owl :Another awesome page
Couponing For The Classroom :This page also give some great money saving tips!
Hand in Hand Giving Page : Helping projects in need
Memories and Milestones :Helping projects
Reading is FUNdamental :Helps projects with a focus on literacy
Music Makes Our Students Smarter :Helps projects that LOVE music!
Costume Box : A giving page that is part of Adam Lambert's Glam A Classroom campaign
FaerieFive  :Follow them meadow to meadow to help fund projects!

So whose ready to post a project? Or what tips do you have for teachers? Leave a comment with your project. We would love to see what other teachers are requesting! 

Teaching Heart Blog

Monday, July 22, 2013

Getting Ready for Back to School!

In exactly 3 weeks, I return back to school for first day of teacher workdays. And my students arrive in 4 weeks! EEK! To prepare I had a busy Monday to get some much needed things in order!

To start, I went to go meet this awesome lady who owns an etsy shop and she also happens to live super close to me, to pick up my new door hanger!

Now isn't that just the cutest door hanger you have seen? Just ignore the trunk of my car, I couldn't resist taking a picture as soon as I picked it up! If you are looking for a new door hanger check her out on her facebook page! She has lots of cute ideas that can be customized!

After picking up my door hanger, I took a bittersweet trip to a local daycare. I took sweet Andrew with me and we turned in his forms so he can start. Such a bittersweet day for me. It was just another reminder that summer is ending and school is beginning. I will miss spending all day with my sweet boy but I must admit I am also super excited to meet my new kinder babies! He will start next week to give me time to get some things done in the classroom and attend a workshop on our new math adoption. I can't believe the time is almost here. My last day of work was on April 18th so I have had a long extended summer break!

To further get ready for Back to School, I am excited to announce that my Back to School Forms are available on TPT! I am so thankful for all the hard working patient people that helped me sort out the issues on TPT. Here is a preview of all of the forms that are included!
Click here  to get all these forms!

As promised, I am offering one of my pages as a freebie!
  Click here to the freebie! This form is used to get all the necessary information for the 1st day of school. I have a longer more in depth information sheet in the packet that I have my families take home to fill out. I want my parents to have adequate time to answer the questions and provide all the information necessary and do not want them to feel rushed at Meet the Teacher to fill out those forms. So instead I only require them to fill this form and contact information out that night.

So what have you been doing to prepare for the BIG day? What do you include in your BTS packets?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

TPT challenges, Beach Trip, School Crafts...Oh My!

I promise I have not disappeared into  the summer sky. But that could be nice if it includes endless supply of sunshine and waves. Instead, I have been super busy. I have created several new items for my bright, happy, chevron classroom but to no avail TPT has not been cooperating with me. :( I have been in constant communication with TPT support and they have been awesome with helping my store get back to working order. So soon you will be seeing lots of new items and be sure to check back here because I will be sure to celebrate with a freebie!

Now for all of you wondering minds here is a synopsis of items I have been working on. I have  created several classroom decor items using my chevron patterns including: sharp/dull pencils, name tags, table signs, new number posters (slight twist to my previous ones). Can you think of additional items your classroom may need? Leave a comment and I just made add it to the pack!

I have also been working on my Back to School Forms. I know, I know we go BTS soon! First day for students in August 19th! There are so many forms that we have to fill out and parents have to fill out that in my mind it makes it worth it if they are at least cute. In this pack I have: student info sheet, parent contact sheet, parent volunteer sign ups, classroom party sign ups, student reading survey, info for first day and I might be forgetting one. Think of something else this pack needs? Leave a comment!

I am also working on my birthday balloons! Last year, I made balloons to be added to crazy straws for this kids birthdays. I plan to still do this but I am making these balloons with chevron! Wahoo for chevron!

I also just might have a few more things up my be on the lookout!

This post is getting long but I just have to share a little bit about our summer beach vacation. We went to Siests Keys (Sarasota) in Florida. My sweet baby boy turned 3 months when we were there! Where is the time going?! He did SO good. For the trip down, we broke the trip up into two days so about 5 hours each day. We met up with my parents my little brother and my oldest brother and his family at a hotel in Jacksonville so we could travel the rest of the way together.  We made great timing and it was so great to get to see my mom's whole family! There was about 30 of us in all that went! My mom is 1 of 6 children and then add their children plus there are now 2 great grandchildren on this side of the family. We had a large group but so much fun. I got my fair share of seafood, waves and pool time. This was our first family vacation of 3 (plus the other 30 people) and I would say it was a success. Here is a photo of the Farr Family of 3!

Friday, July 5, 2013


WOW! This has been one busy week! Can you believe it is already JULY??! And that means Back to School shopping time! On Wednesday, I went to the teach store with a close teacher friend and we racked up! I like to go as soon as July hits to beat the rest of the teacher crowd. We bought so much stuff we even needed the help of two employees to carry it to the car. SHHHHH, don't tell my husband! I meant to take a picture of all the goodies but we dropped it off in our classrooms so we wouldn't have to find a good hiding spot for the rest of the summer. And oh boy,  was it interesting to see my room all packed up! I was on maternity leave at the end of the year so I didn't have the joy of packing up and after seeing my room. I am so thankful for my amazing LTS and assistant for doing a fabulous job of getting the room in order. But oh man, there will be lots of work to do in August to get the room back to bedazzling kinder friendly order! I am actually looking forward to getting back in there and putting some of my pinterest projects to use!

I do not have any new products or freebies to share at this time BUT I am working on SEVERAL. So keep checking back and there might be some goodies.

So what does July mean for you? Has your summer just begun or are you closer to starting school?