Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cyber Monday {and Tuesday} Teachers Pay Teachers Sale and a Gift Card

UPDATE DECEMBER 1st:  "Tory" is the winner Rafflecopter contest!  She made a PERFECT score by answering the two questions correctly.  Congratulations Tory!  I've sent you an email with the code for the gift card.  I want to thank each and every one of you for entering my contest.  In the spirit of the holiday season, I desire to have another Rafflecopter contest for another ten dollar Teachers Pay Teachers gift card!  The contest will be posted on my blog on December 3rdIt will end on December 15th.  This way, you'll have enough time to use it as a gift for an educator before the Christmas break.  Or, you can use it yourself.  It will have two easy questions.  There will be no "follow" requirementIf you didn't win this time, come back on Saturday, December 3rd and try again!

I'm excited to let you know that I'm having a sale at my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.  Everything in my store will be 20% off on Monday and Tuesday, November 28 and 29.  Use the promo code:  CYBER2016 and get an additional discount.  Don't forget to click the "Apply" button when you go through check-out.  The total discount will be 28%.  

I have the perfect holiday gift for an educator!
   Go to the end of this post to find it.

Jingle Bell photo courtesy of  Pippalunacy 

I was issued a ten dollar gift card by Teachers Pay Teachers to promote my shop during the sale.  Thank you Teachers Pay Teachers!  I'm thrilled to be able to use it through the Rafflecopter on this blog post.

 "Santa wears boots and a suit of red." 

One lucky winner will receive an email from me with a code for a ten dollar gift card.  The gift card is good toward resources at the Teachers Pay Teachers website.  The winner will be announced on this post in the late afternoon (EST) on December 1st. 

Make the month of December fun and engaging with great resources from Teachers Pay Teachers.  Save your personal time for yourself so you can enjoy the holidays with friends and family.  Plan ahead for January with activities that ease students' transition to the return of school.  Enjoy the sale!

Rules for the Contest:

1Must be 21 years old or older.
2.  Enter one time.  Don't use multiple email accounts to try to increase your chance to win.
3.  Winner grants permission for the name provided on the Rafflecopter form to be announced on my blog.
4.  Abide by Rafflecopter rules.
5.  Correctly answer the first question on the Rafflecopter.  This is mandatory.  The second question is optional and will give you another entry into the contest.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Classroom Posters for Veterans Day

Veterans Day is about a day away and I've been in pursuit of some resources that teachers and schools can use.  In my search, I've come across a great website that has a free poster that any school can use to draw attention to the date as well as to the significance of the day.  The website is the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  For nearly 40 years, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has been publishing an annual poster in honor of Veterans Day.  It's quite a collection!  On the the GALLERY page, you can see the current poster design for the year 2016 as well as the other years which date back to 1978 - long before the birth of the internet and the digital age!  
The photo shows the poster for 2016 on the left side and the poster from 2014 on the right side.
I love that a photo of a bald eagle was included in the poster design for this year.  And what a beautiful specimen he/she is!  If you take a look at the poster designs from past years, you'll see that most include illustrations of members of the five branches of the United States Armed Forces or images of national symbols.

If you'd like a Veterans Day poster to hang in your school or classroom, I'd highly recommend using the one from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  Best of all, it's free!  Here's the link again:  Veterans Day Poster.  

If you're not sure how to download and print the poster, read this tutorial.  (I'm on a PC.  If you're using a MAC, this might not work.) 

First go to the website and click on the link that says, "High Resolution".
Click on "High Resolution"
Once you click on "High Resolution" a window which is the image of the poster will open. 

Use your computer mouse and right click somewhere on the image.  You'll get a drop-down menu.  Select the choice that says, "Save Image As . . . "

Select "Save Image As . . . "
Next you'll decide WHERE you will save the file on your computer.  This is important so that you can find the file later on.  You can save it to your desk top, your flash drive, a folder in your documents, or any other place your computer allows you to save files.  Just make sure that YOU know where you put it!  You will also give it a name so that you can find it.  You can call it "Veterans Day Poster".  If you're planning on using the posters from the previous years, add the year in your file name such as "Veterans Day 2015 Poster".

(If you print several different posters, you'll have a nice bulletin board display in for November!)  

The image below has a red arrow indicating that I'm saving to my computer's desktop.  The second red arrow is the name I've given the file.  The file is being saved as a JPEG Image.  That is the file type you'll want to use.

Make sure you know where you are saving your file and give it a name you'll remember.
If you know how to use your computer's photo editing software, you can just pull up your saved JPEG file and edit and print.  If you don't know how to do that, and you want a poster that is almost the size of an 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper or an 8.5" x 14" sheet of paper, keep reading!

I'm using Microsoft Word 2010.  If you have something different than that, you'll have to know how to improvise!  I opened a new Microsoft Word document.  Then, I clicked on the "Insert" tab and then on the "Picture" icon.  The computer does not know where you saved the image.  You'll have to direct it to the file location.  You'll have some options at the top and left column of your screen.  Find the option that names the location that you saved the JPEG in.  If you saved it to the "Desktop", go to the "Desktop".  If you saved it to your flash drive, go to your flash drive.  Once you're the location where you saved the image, find the image, click on it, and then click "Insert".

Click "Insert", then click "Picture", and then find your image.
The image is now inserted into the Microsoft Office document.  You need to right click the image, then you'll see a drop-down menu.  Move your mouse over to "Wrap Text".  Another drop-down menu will appear.  Left click on "In Front of Text".

Now you'll be able to move the image around the page and position it wherever you'd like.  Customize the size so that the poster covers almost the whole page.  Right click on the image and go to "FORMAT".  Then go to "Size and Position".  You'll see the measurements for the existing image which you can adjust.  Leave the check marks inside the boxes that say, "Lock aspect ratio" and "Relative to original picture size".  (If you uncheck those, your image may become distorted.) 
Go to the height and change it to 10.8".  Change the width to 6.98".  Move the image around the page so that all of it fits within the page.

Now you're ready to print.  Go to "Print" on your computer.  Make sure your setting is for a letter size (8.5" x 11") page.  

Trim the white edges off your printed page.  You'll have a beautiful poster to hang in your classroom for Veterans Day!  

If you have legal sized paper, you can make your poster larger.  Put the legal sized paper in your printer.  Since the width is the same as the letter sized paper (8.5") it should slip right into your printer! Use the same document as described above.  Click on "Size" and then click on "Legal".  Adjust the size of the image to cover as much of the page as possible.  Go to print.  Make sure to temporarily change your computer's print setting to "Legal" sized paper.  Then print and trim off any white space.

The photo below show the two identical posters.  The poster printed on the left is with letter sized paper.  The poster on the right is printed with legal sized paper.

Happy Veterans Day!

Molly, Lessons by Molly

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Best Bargains for Buying Clothespins for Classroom Use

I love that teachers are continuously finding ways to re-purpose items to make creative learning activities that are practical for students to use!  One of the best tools that have been adapted for classroom use are clothespins.  They were originally intended for hanging clothes on a clothesline and many people continue to utilize them for in this way.  

I have the "411" for you on where to get the best value for your money.  I'll also tell you how you can save time in finding them.  Before I get to that, if you're an early childhood or elementary teacher and haven't heard of clip cards, check out the free set HERE.  It will give you an idea of how I'm using clothespins to create learning centers. 

I'll mention that this blog has no affiliates with any of the stores or manufacturers included.  

I've probed around my own community to find out where clothespins can be purchased and my discovery has led me to several national retailers and a few regional grocery store chains.  I bought four sets of clothespins at four stores which are independent of each other.  In case you're curious, all four sets of clothespins were made in China.

Clothespins aren't just for hanging clothes!  They have many creative purposes such as learning center materials.  Find out the top places to purchase clothespins and get the best value for your money.

I've also price compared with some mall based online stores that sell clothespins and I have learned that buying locally is MUCH cheaper! It eliminates the shipping costs which usually will be more than the cost of the clothespins themselves.

CALL BEFORE YOU STALL:  Before you drive to a store to buy your clothespins, call the store first to make sure they carry them.  There's no point in searching at places that don't supply clothespins.

LOCATION IN THE STORE:  Save yourself time and locate the clothespins quickly.  There are two places in almost any store that you will find clothespins.  Those two places are the BLEACH/LAUNDRY DETERGENT aisle or the HOUSEHOLD section.  If there is a subsection for household items, look where there are ironing board covers, hangers, and laundry bags.  

COST COMPARED TO QUANTITY:  Before you grab those clothespins that look like a great deal for one dollar you will want to consider the quantity that you're getting.  If there's a package of 44 clothespins for one dollar and another package of 100 clothespins  for two dollars, spending the extra cash might be worthwhile if your planning to create a lot of centers or will be sending several sets home for students to use.  

DESIGN:  Another thing to consider is the design of the clothespins.  Does the size make a difference to you?  What about the material used?  Do you want plastic or wooden clothespins?

QUALITY:  Inspect the condition of the wood on the clothespins.  Two brands that I purchased came in transparent packaging material which allowed me to clearly view the productThe other two sets of clothespins were packaged with transparent material as well but paper inserts covered a portion of the product.  Look for clothespins that have a smooth finish on the wood.  Poorly finished wood could cause splinters.  Inferior crafted springs could break easily resulting in fewer clothespins than what you began with when you made the purchase.  I also noticed that some of the products added additional information about the products' features such as "no rust wire springs" or "rust resistant wire springs".  

STORES AND PRICES:  Here's a listing of a few stores that sell clothespins along with their prices and quantities per package.  This information was obtained in September 2016.  If you are reading this in September 2020 - the prices will probably be more than what I've quoted.  

1.  Walmart SupercenterMainstays  Wooden Clothespins (50 count package)
PRICE - $0.97.

Clothespins aren't just for hanging clothes!  They have many creative purposes such as learning center materials.  Find out the top places to purchase clothespins and get the best value for your money.

2.  Dollar Tree Stores, Inc.Essentials Wood Clothespins (36 count package)
PRICE - $1.00.

Clothespins aren't just for hanging clothes!  They have many creative purposes such as learning center materials.  Find out the top places to purchase clothespins and get the best value for your money.

3.  Family DollarWood Clothespins (50 count package)
PRICE - $1.25

Clothespins aren't just for hanging clothes!  They have many creative purposes such as learning center materials.  Find out the top places to purchase clothespins and get the best value for your money.

4.  A Local Grocery StoreWhitmor Inc., Natural Wood Clothespins  (100 count package)
PRICE - $5.99

Clothespins aren't just for hanging clothes!  They have many creative purposes such as learning center materials.  Find out the top places to purchase clothespins and get the best value for your money.

 Here are a few more places to find clothespins:

1.  Kmart
2.  Craft Stores
3.  Thrift Stores 

In my opinion, the Walmart Mainstays brand was the best value for getting a quality set of clothespins at a very low price.  I hope this post will help you become a savvy consumer when it comes to buying clothespins!   If you're looking for clothespin/clothespeg inspiration, check out my Pinterest board: Clothespin Ideas.

That's all for now!

Molly, Lessons by Molly

Illustration of the laundress by:  
Caldecott, Randolph, and Edmund Evans.  The Complete Collection of Pictures & Songs.  G.  Routledge and Sons, London, monographic, 1887.  Image.  Retrieved from the Library of Congress <>