Friday, 31 August 2012

Five Little Friends - Free for Friday!

 
We just listed this fun little packet at our TpT Teacher Resource store and it is 100%, all-fun-and-FREE!
 
Click HERE to find it!
 
It is an illustrated counting rhyme that will help you teach numbers to 5 in forwards and backwards counting order. We love rhymes in the classroom! Not only do they help brighten up some boring lessons, but when you ask your students to invent actions to accompany them, they can  help your students with:
- speech development
- clear pronunciation
- dramatisation
- co-ordinating hand/body movement with words
- communication
- be creative and inventive
- vocabulary
- participation in group activities
 
We are linking up with my first ever linky over at my graphics blog. Lots more TpT sellers will add other great activities and resources that feature the little friendly ghosts! Hop over to the linky between now and October 31 to find links to lots of other goodies and teacher blogs to follow!
 
 


Thursday, 30 August 2012

Graphics Blog

Graphics From the Pond
 
 
Do you like to keep up to date with what is happening with Graphics From the Pond?
We finally added some content to our little sister blog.
 
Check it out HERE.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A Free Doodle Frame

Download this pretty frame for FREE here. If you would like to use it in a commercial project or file, please just add the credit:

Graphics From the Pond http://frompond.blogspot.com

to your file somewhere.
 
 
I have just listed this set at TpT if you are interested in seeing more doodle frames!
 
 


Sunday, 26 August 2012

Spider Cards and Some Free Spider Frames

 
Oops, I am VERY late in linking up to Blog Hoppin's Friday Linky Party - but it is certainly better late than never. I got caught up with email.... its a long and very boring tale. So HERE is a set of fabulous and free spider web frames for you to add  to your latest teaching resources and classroom charts and papers.
 
I have had spiders and webs on my mind - I just listed this new packet in my TpT store and it was a whole lot of fun to make! I started making it as something for my daughter to use, but it quickly turned into a From the Pond file! It is great for students that already have a good understanding of how to read and write cvc words, but need to be challenged some more. There is no picture clue to help with the word and the letters are jumbled in the web.
 
 
 
First, we printed and laminated all the cards. I cut, laminated and cut again - giving a complete sealed edge around each card. I rounded off the corners so they were not sharp.
 
 
Students have to look at the three letters in the web, and determine the word 'spider' is trying to make in the letter boxes.
 
Once laminated, your students can write, using a dry erase marker, the word on each card.
 
 
Students will have to attend to the print and look at the shape and size of each letter to give them clues.

Once each card is complete, your students can 'wipe' the word away ready for another student to use the card.


 
Or, if only one student is using the set, they can write all the words before wiping clean.


 
After my daughter completed all the cards, we talked about rhyming words as well!


 
In the classroom, I would keep all the cards together (with the cover page from the file) in a clear plastic document wallet.
 
 
I would also laminate a 'master' copy of the worksheet and keep it with the cards.
 
I love using Write n Wipe cards with children just learning to read and write
 
because:
 
1. They LOVE them and so LOVE engaging in the activity
2. Markers are great for students learning to write as little pressure has to exerted with the pen to achieve a good clear line, and they can focus on other things, like letter formation and spelling
3. They provide a simple, fuss free centre of small group activity
4. They are perfectly child-sized
5. They are inexpensive to make and last a long time
6. You can turn just about any 'worksheet' into a write'n'wipe - I love using worksheets that we have done before, the students LOVE to revise and consolidate something they have done before
 
If you would like to see more fun freebies for cough cough Friday... head over to Blog  Hoppin and read up!
 



Friday, 24 August 2012

Font Therapy - Letterbox Fonts




I just made these fonts to help teachers make worksheets and resources with 'letterboxes' - so students can write a letter in each box. See them at TpT HERE

I am really supposed to be thinking about how I relax for Therapeutic Thursday at the Blog Hoppin linky... but I just keep finding things to do... toys to pick up... benches to wipe down....dinners to cook... and fonts to make.

I don't think for a second that many of you do not relate. I have a minuscule amount of time to relax. And perhaps this little linky party has caused me to really think about how I spend my time.

Currently for me, my relaxation time is the wonderful moments I sit down to either feed or play with my baby. And finishing a cup of hot tea is like H-E-A-V-E-N! I love it! At the end of the day, I walk through the house gathering my half drunk cups of tea... like little lost possible dreams I had for the day.

With my first born, I have to admit, I came to loathe sitting at home so much and always felt somewhere deep down, that I was being idle. Baby #2 has been a true blessing. It has made me stop and enjoy the tiny, simple, sometimes short, but truly wonderful moments much much more. Baby Sam sat up on his own for the first time this week. Each day he is sitting for longer and more independently. I caught the first time he sat unaided on my video camera. He is just so beautiful, so content and he often has the beautiful calm yet determined look across his face that I see in his daddy all the time. In a few years time when he watches it for himself,  I hope I can explain the quiet sobbing in the background of his very proud mumma.... for I sat on the floor, recording his new found independence and was just a tiny little bit sad that he is not my tiny little newborn anymore. They lasted only for a moment, and I quickly brushed them aside and found joy in the wonderful things we are learning together as he grows and becomes a beautiful little person.

And moments like this one, for the time being, are 'therapy' enough for me.




Thursday, 23 August 2012

Guest Blogger Ann for Where I Teach Wednesday!

I have been linking up with lots of wonderful bloggers over at Blog Hoppin this week, for a week of linked-up posts. Today is Where I Teach Wednesday.
 
As I am currently not teaching and on a very enjoyable period of maternity leave this year, I have decided to tell you about my wonderful friend Ann and where she is teaching. I met Ann in the TeacherspayTeachers seller's forum and she lives in Florida in the United States. I think it is very cool that I am getting to know someone from so far away and learning so much about schools and teaching in another country. We enjoy each others sense of humour and we are having fun emailing each other back and forth.
 
Ann I are working together on a whole set of readers... but I will let her tell her more, as she is about to become my very first guest blogger here at my Frog Spot Blog! Thanks so much Ann, I love learning about where you teach, how you teach and also helping bring your wonderful stories to life!
 
 
 
Hello to Melanie’s Readers,
 

I am Melanie’s guest blogger for today. I teach 2nd grade in the state of Florida in the United States. Melanie and I have been collaborating on some fun readers so I thought I would give you a glimpse of our work.

So, where to start…..

Most people’s favorite pets are dogs and cats but mine is rabbits. I find rabbits very amusing and comical !

I have a pet dwarf rabbit and his name is Stormie. I’ve begun writing readers and Stormie is the main character. Honestly, he truly is a character!

Rabbits have just become part of my life. My classroom is“Rabbitland”. Students are divided up into 4 teams and yes, you guessed it, they are all rabbit names. Let’s see there’s the Rexs, Jackrabbits, Cottontails, and the Lops. I award points for good behavior, correct answers, etc. The kids love it!

When I am teaching on the Smartboard, students respond using their whiteboards. It is so funny…………..I will tell them they are so smart and they will write little notes by their answers. Some of the notes will say………….We are the rabbits! Rabbits are #1! The kids take such pride!


When did this all start………….this funny obsession with rabbits? Well, it was a frightening day in September……….just kidding. My boyfriend(now my husband) and I were in the pet shop and he suggested that I get a rabbit. We named him Mr. Spots and he was a very determined rabbit. He was a toughie but still lovable. He lived 9 years until a lump was discovered that well, wasn’t good news. Saddened by the loss of this rabbit, my furry friend, I was determined not to ever get a rabbit again. Well, I was in for a surprise. Another rabbit was about to come into my life. With my husband’s nudging,we drove back to the pet shop where we first got Mr. Spots. We were looking for a male bunny and Stormie was the only one. I admit I wasn’t sure about this new rabbit. He looked like a mouse! He has, however, become a member of the family. His funny antics and loving personality have made him such a part of the family. It does go to show that animals have personalities just like people. Pet owners know this. Stormie is super sweet and much shyer than Mr. Spots. He also loves people and he makes cool noises like a guinea pig. My vet thinks he is a hoot!

With Melanie’s help, the Stormie readers have been born! Stormie is the main character and his best friend is of course a frog! Freddie Frog is very wise and often discusses various topics with Stormie.
 
 

You can find the following Stormie readers from the Stormie Rabbit Reader Collections at my store at TpT.


Freddie Starts School - (an emergent reader)


Stormie Rabbit and Freddie Frog –a reader about Sun Safety(a reader that teaches kids the importance of protecting your skin)
 

Back to School Tips Reader with Stormie Rabbit and Freddie Frog - (both characters discuss what makes a successful student)

 

Stormie Rabbit Goes Back to School - (a fictional story with some clipart from Lita, Lita)


Stormie the Rabbit and Germs(a reader about protecting yourself against bad germs like washing your hands)

Back to School Bonanza of Readers with Stormie Rabbit - (which includes the last three readers listed above at a reduced price)
 

The readers all have some type of activity,etc. and teacher notes. The descriptions tell what’s included.

Melanie has done much of the clipart, design, etc. I hope you (and your students) enjoy these as much as I enjoyed writing them.

This is my first time writing a blog post so please forgive the novice. I appreciate Melanie for giving me this opportunity. 
 
Ann



Let me tell  you, Ann has a way with words - I love reading her stories, so your students will LOVE them! I simply cannot wait until I return to the classroom so I can use them too! They would be perfect for Grades 1-3 but I really think Kindergarten would enjoy reading them with the teacher. For many of the readers, Ann has included focus questions on each page, so the students can focus their reading and reflect on both the story and the text features. These readers are fantastic and can be printed in colour or grey scale. I think they are PERFECT for the Smartboard also!

Be sure to check out Ann's readers and also download the original Stormie reader for FREE!
 


Dress Up Your Store

Technology tip Tuesday got me started by showing you how to use Paint to make your own store banner.  

I have taken things a step further by making some backgrounds to help you make a basic banner for your TeacherspayTeachers store.
 
Banners make your store look attractive and appealing and you can add new one to advertise special sales and feature products.

 
There are many ways to do this, but my tutorial will primarily help people that have never attempted something like this before or with very limited skills in the area of design on the computer, so I have chosen MS Paint, as most people will have this on their computer. You may have some more advanced programs that will allow you to do some fancy effects.
 
I am on PC, so I apologise if you are on MAC. But you MAC users always seem to know what you are doing anyhow!
 
 
 
1. First download this set from TpT. It is free! It includes some basic background. Plain color + a dashed edge design.
Here is what the dashed edge looks like...
 
 
Or this chevron pack is just $2.
 
 
2. You will download a ZIPPED folder from TpT. Save it first to a folder on your computer. Remember where you saved it!
You need to extract all the individual files, by unzipping the folder.
 
3. Once unzipped, you will see a list of files in the new folder that is created (your zipped folder will remain on your computer, and the unzipped one will be additional).
 
4. So that you can see what they look like, rather than a list of file names, click on Medium or Large Icons on your View Options (this is a drop down menu on the top right of my screen - I am on a PC). It just changes the way you view your files. The files will remain intact and not change.
 
 
5. You will now be able to see the files as icons, and choose the one you would like for your store.
 
6. Before you start making your banner you need to make a NEW copy of the banner file. This way, if you make any errors, you will always have the original file preserved and you can start again. Or if you want to make a new banner in the future, you can start fresh with the original file.
 
To make the new copy, right click on the banner of your choice, select copy.
 
7. Click anywhere on your screen on this page, and right click again. Click Paste.
 
8. You should now see an new copy of the file you chose. It will have -Copy written after the file name.
 
 
9. Right click on this file, and click on Rename.
 
 
 
10. Type in the field that appears to give the file a new name, e.g MyStoreBanner
 
 
11. Now the exciting bit begins! Right click on this newly named file. Go to 'Open With' and then select PAINT.
 
12. The Paint program will open and you will see the banner. You are now about to start making changes to the .png file you downloaded from me. You are working on the actual .png file. Do not change the banner size, the dimensions are exactly what is needed to upload to TpT. You can add text or graphics to the inside of the bordered edge.
 
 
14. Select the Text tool (capital A) to add text to your banner.
 
 
15. Select a colour from the colour panel, a font type from the fonts display. Click and drag from where you want your text, to form a text box. Then type away.
 
Be sure to select a font that you have a commercial licence to use. For example, if you want to use a Kevin and Amanda font, they sell a commercial licence as well. You won't be able to give the credit they require to use their 'free' fonts, on your store button/banner - it just won't fit!
 
 
16. SAVE the changes you have made to the .png banner file.
 
 

 
12. Now its time to upload it to your TeacherspayTeachers store. Go to your Dashboard. Select DRESS UP YOUR STORE.

 
13. Click on BROWSE and locate your saved banner from the folder you saved it to. Here you can see the one that is already loaded in my store.

 

Enter a link. The banner is clickable. This means that when a buyer clicks on it, it needs to have a web address embedded in the picture to take the buyer to. TpT has a rule that this MUST be a page on the TpT website (rightfully so!).

Choose either the home page of your store, or one of your favourite products. Copy and paste the URL (of the page of your choice) from your web browser and into this space.

It will take a day or so to get approval for you banner, so you will not see it straight away.

I hope that may have helped you create your own banner... or other wonderful creations with PAINT!
 
Please note that my new 'Dress Up Your Store' packs include files to create sidebar buttons for your TpT store, in matching patterns and colours. You can create this in the exact same way as your button with PAINT.
This post has been part of Teacher Week over at Blog Hoppin. Hop over there to take a look at the other great technology posts!
 
 
UPDATE
 
I just found a link to another wonderful tutorial from one of my FAVE TpT sellers, The Teacher Wife. On her new blog, she shows how to make banners using Powerpoint! I am only just getting to know Powerpoint, and from what I have seen so far, am never going back to WORD for my teaching resources unless I have great big slabs of text to process.
 
Anyhow, check out her blog post about banners if you want to make one in Powerpoint. It seems that great minds must think alike... perhaps she saw all the questions in the seller's forum about banners also!
The Teacher Wife
 
 
 
You should be reading this post on Frog Spot Blog http://frompond.blogspot.com If you are reading it somewhere else, it is because my content has been stolen or skimmed. Please alert me or google.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

How to Make a TPT Basic Store Banner Using MS Paint

It's technology tip Tuesday!

I have written a tutorial for how to make a very basic banner for your TeacherspayTeachers store.

I have had so many requests to help people create their own banners.

There are many ways to do this, but my tutorial will primarily help people that have never attempted something like this before or with very limited skills in the area of design on the computer.

Hopefully you will have Microsoft PAINT on your computer. If you cannot locate it directly from your start button , try START, ALL PROGRAMS, ACCESSORIES, PAINT.

'Accessories' will be a little yellow folder in your program list.



1. Find Paint on your computer and open


2. Once Paint is open, from the drop down menu, select 'Properties'



3. Select 'Pixels' and add the exact dimensions from TpT 706x90 pixels


4. Select the rectangle from the shapes menu






5. Select a colour and then click and drag to make a rectangle. Click from the top right corner. Keep the rectangle within or just on the edge of your document.





6. You can now fill your rectangle shape. Choose a colour from the selection panel (this will show up as Colour 1). Click the fill tool. Then click on your rectangle. The rectangle will fill with your chosen colour.




7. Now its time to add text. Click on the text button, it's a capital A. Be sure to select a font that you have a commercial licence to use. For example, if you want to use a  Kevin and Amanda font, they sell a commercial licence as well. You won't be able to give the credit they require to use their 'free' fonts, on your blog button - it just won't fit!





8. Click and drag to create a text box and then type your name. Make sure the 'Transparent' button is selected and that you have chosen the font colour that you would like to use.


9. Add some details if you wish. I used the circle shape tool to create polka dots on this one. You can also copy and paste clipart into paint as well. Be sure to use .png clipart files, as they will have a transparent background. Most likely, any clipart you put in, you will need to resize to make them fit. To do this, save an additional copy of your clipart, so your original is preserved. Open your clipart file in Paint, go to 'resize' and make it smaller (you may need to use trial and error to see what size you need... I always use the percentage tool, and reduce to 25% for example).

You will also need to check the terms of use of your clipart before you use it for a banner/logo. For example, the clipart that I sell at Graphics From the Pond is NOT  to be used for a banner/logo without permission. Just email me or your designer of choice and ask them if you can have permission to use it in this way. You most likely will be allowed!

10. When you are done, choose SAVE AS from your menu. Save it as a PNG picture. It will be crisper on the screen that a JPEG.

11. Give your banner a file name and save it in a folder on  your computer.

12. Now its time to upload it to your TeacherspayTeachers store. Go to your Dashboard. Select DRESS UP YOUR STORE.

13. Click on BROWSE and locate your saved banner from the folder you saved it to. Here you can see the one that is already loaded in my store.

Enter a link. The banner is clickable. This means that when a buyer clicks on it, it needs to have a web address embedded in the picture to take the buyer to. TpT has a rule that this MUST be a page on the TpT website (rightfully so!).

Choose either the home page of your store, or one of your favourite products. Copy and paste the URL (of the page of your choice) from your web browser and into this space.

It will take a day or so to get approval for you banner, so you will not see it straight away.

I hope that may have helped you create your own banner... or other wonderful creations with PAINT!




This post has been part of Teacher Week over at Blog Hoppin. Hop over there to take a look at the other great technology posts!


And while I am here.....


Hooooooo loves friendly bloggers? I do!
I just had to share my cute new Owl classroom theme set. It was so much fun to make! If you are one of the darlings that has one of my blog buttons on your blog or if I am on your blog roll, email me the link and I will not only add you to my blog roll, but send you this owl packet for FREE. Just to show you how much I appreciate your kindness and support. You rock! 


You should be reading this post on Frog Spot Blog http://frompond.blogspot.com If you are reading it somewhere else, it is because my content has been stolen or skimmed. Please alert me or google.