Free How-To Video: Creating a Positive Learning Environment

Posted by on 21 Sep 2014 | Posted in: Contests, Freebies, Office Depot, OfficeMax, Websites

Keeping a visual of everything students have learned right in reach can reinforce new knowledge in a positive way. One way to do that is with anchor charts. Too time consuming? Click on the video below for a quick and easy way to create and display anchor charts in your classroom! Its part of the helpful how-to video series available through the Gotta Get It! teacher awards sweepstakes.

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The deadline for the Gotta Get It! teacher awards sweepstakes is right around the corner—September 30, 2014, to be exact! Don’t miss out on your chance to be the lucky teacher to win a $500 Office Depot or OfficeMax gift card or one of the six runners-up to win a $100 Office Depot or OfficeMax gift card! Plus you can still take advantage of the free materials, teacher-only discounts, and special offers at TheMailbox.com/teacherrewards. Your free resources cover popular topics, from communicating with parents to simplifying your classroom technology to managing your time. Click here now!

Karen


Celebrating Grandparents, Curiosity, Creativity, and You! Win a Book!

Posted by on 18 Sep 2014 | Posted in: Contests, Crayola, Disney, Freebies, Graceland University, Houghton Mifflin, Playmobil, Websites

National Grandparents Day was this month, but if you ask me, I think we should celebrate grandparents every day! That’s why this adorable read-aloud, My Bibi Always Remembers, caught my eye. In it, a little elephant wants to be just like the grandmother elephant whose memory helps protect the herd. Submit a comment to the blog by 11:59 pm EDT Sunday, September 28, 2014, to tell me which of the items below are your favorites. One lucky teacher will win this book!

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If you’re a preschool teacher, here’s a great opportunity that could help you add to your PLAYMOBIL supply: 500 preschool teachers will each win a PLAYMOBIL prize pack by entering at TheMailbox.com/playmobil123. You read that right—500 winners! And that’s not all; ten lucky teachers will each win a $250 PLAYMOBIL shopping spree! Everyone who enters gets free preschool activities and a special coupon. Everyone’s a winner! Not a preschool teacher? Find someone who is and let them know about this. It’s an opportunity too good to miss! Click here now!

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We all know how curious kids are. Celebrate that curiosity by planning a Curiosity Day event featuring Curious George! Click here to download a free event kit. You’ll get games and activities, event-themed nametags and images, coloring sheets, decorating ideas, and more. Then keep the curiosity going throughout the year with free classroom resources. Click here!

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Here’s a fun way to build literacy skills. Add to your students’ creative toolbox with Crayola’s Ultra-Clean washable markers and  erasable colored pencils. Little mistakes are no big deal when they can be erased or washed away. You can also register at Crayola.com/Educator for free resources just for teachers, including lesson plans, professional development workshops, grants, and more! Click here to check it out!

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Is classroom management near the top of your wish-to-improve list? Then look into Graceland University’s online master’s of education degree in management in a quality classroom. It focuses on the best practices of effective classroom management in the context of a responsive approach to instruction. Through the program (did I mention that it’s entirely online?), you’ll learn how to establish a productive classroom climate, apply management techniques, and foster student learning and behavior accountability. Click here now to find out more!

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Don’t forget; submit a comment for your chance to win My Bibi Always Remembers!

Karen


Catch a Space Taxi to a Galactic Giveaway of 200 Books!

Posted by on 12 Sep 2014 | Posted in: Contests, Freebies, Hachette, Websites

***Sponsored by Hachette***

Meet the Morningstar family in Space Taxi, a new chapter book series from Wendy Mass! Archie Morningstar has waited 8 years, 8 months, and 8 days for the chance to accompany his father to work. But Archie’s dad is no ordinary cab driver. He drives an intergalactic space taxi, shuttling aliens from one corner of the universe to another. And Archie soon discovers that he has a natural knack for space navigation. Being a space taxi copilot is no easy task: Archie must steer them into wormholes, keep them from crashing into planets, and save the universe from an evil mastermind!

In the newest book in the series, Space Taxi: Water Planet Rescue, Archie, his dad, and their talking cat fly to a planet in peril. Someone is stealing the water from this underwater world.

Read the Q&A with the author below and submit a comment on our blog by 11:59 pm EDT on October 12, 2014, to let us know why this series is perfect for your students. We’ll randomly select 200 lucky teachers to win an advanced-reading copy of Space Taxi: Water Planet Rescue. Please note, to be entered into the contest, you must include your full name and mailing address with your comment so we can send you your book if you win. Your name and address will not be posted with your comment nor will they be saved; we are asking for these simply so we can mail you your book.

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You are a self-professed lover of science, idolizing scientists over rock stars. What sparked your interest in all things science?

I’m not sure the exact moment when the world of science grabbed me, but an elementary school trip to Thomas Edison’s laboratory in West Orange, New Jersey, solidified it. I love the idea that scientific discoveries are made because someone wondered why something is the way it is or how they can use the material they have to make something better. Then they are willing to fail over and over again until they find out. With today’s technology, the mysteries of the universe are unraveling in front of us. How lucky we are!

Your books—Every Soul a Star, Pi in the Sky, and now Space Taxi—seamlessly weave science with fiction. Do you begin with the story idea and work in the science or does the science evolve from the story?

I start with the story idea and then research the science behind it. The things I learn always spark more story ideas. So it soon becomes hard to separate one from the other. Even though these books are science fiction/fantasy, we (my co-writer and husband, Mike) try to base Archie’s adventures on real scientific principles—with a generous helping of creative license on the side.

Through the writing and researching process for your books, you’ve become quite the amateur scientist. Did anything surprise you as you did research for Space Taxi?

I was surprised once I really dug into the theories of what life on other planets might look like. The main theory for decades has been that carbon-based life forms could only exist if the conditions for life were in the “Goldilocks Habitable Zone” where everything was just right—not too close to the sun but not too far; not too cold so water would freeze but not too hot so it would evaporate, etc. But now scientists believe that different conditions would simply lead to different types of life forms, perhaps not carbon-based, water-dependent life forms at all.

Archie and his family live in a city. Why did you choose to settle the Morningstars in an urban setting?

We wanted Archie to be pretty unfamiliar with the night sky before his first adventure, truly unaware of what was out there. Living in the city would keep him from seeing many stars when he looked out his window. There’s so much light pollution in big cities that most of the sky is blotted out. This way he could be surprised and amazed at what he saw in the same way that the reader would hopefully be.

Can you give three clues to help readers figure out where in the universe Archie will travel next?

1. In Book 2, if you lived here, you’d have fins instead of fingers.
2. In Book 3, you’ll wonder just what a certain princess ate for breakfast.
3. In Book 4, you just might meet someone’s evil twin!

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Don’t forget, you can WIN a copy of Space Taxi: Water Planet Rescue by submitting a comment to our blog. Send your comment right now. Two hundred teachers will WIN!

Good  luck!

Karen

 

PS:  Get a free Educator’s Guide for the first book in the series, Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight! Click here!


Dive In to Great Opportunities for Teachers! Plus Win a Book!

Posted by on 10 Sep 2014 | Posted in: Contests, Freebies, Georgia-Pacific, Handwriting Without Tears, HarperCollins, National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, Random House, Websites

My family recently took a “yikes, school is starting soon!” mini vacation to the Georgia Aquarium, and now I have the ocean and its fantastic creatures on my mind. So when I picked up Peanut Butter and Jellyfish, it made me giggle. These two best friends help preschoolers and kindergartners explore themes of friendship, kindness, bullying, and acceptance while swimming in their ocean home. Submit a comment to the blog by 11:59 pm EDT Sunday, September 21, 2014, to tell me which of the items below are your favorites. One lucky teacher will win this book!

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Now about the Georgia Aquarium. Let me just say, it was unlike any other aquarium I’ve ever visited. The moment we walked through the doors, I sensed the vibrancy. My younger daughter loved, loved, loved the dolphins! My older daughter just adored the penguins and the weedy sea dragon, which was the subject of a school report a few years ago. Me? I’m an otter girl, and I was not at all disappointed. Everyone was mesmerized by the Ocean Voyager tank, complete with whale sharks, manta rays (the only ones in a US aquarium), and literally thousands of fish swimming overhead.

With my trip still fresh in mind, I don’t want you to miss your chance to win a trip for four to this amazing destination. The prize includes airfare, lodging, aquarium tickets, an animal encounter, and a $250 Visa gift card for spending money! One teacher will win; four teachers will each win an aquarium tote filled with goodies plus a $25 Amazon gift card. Just by going to TheMailbox.com/toptalent, you can bring a bit of the aquarium to your classroom with free videos, activities, worksheets, and reading passages featuring the animal talent at the aquarium! Click here!

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Would you like to teach math with an international perspective? This book may be just what you need. For prekindergarten–grade 8 teachers, Mathematics Lessons Learned From Across the World features classroom-tested, hands-on activities from around the world. Each activity sets the scene by country and classroom and includes math content, a materials, list, teacher notes, and more. Plus it’s Common Core aligned! Click here to check it out!
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If you’re a grades K–5 teacher, here’s a new curriculum you’re going to want to try. Teach pre-keyboarding and keyboarding with Keyboarding Without Tears. The curriculum is developmentally appropriate by grade and makes potentially complex concepts, like digital citizenship, easy for children to understand. It builds fine-motor skills and has game-based activities with cross-curricular connections to keep kids engaged and challenged. Now, you have a chance to win a free license! You’ll also get access to teaching guidelines and free sample lessons. Click here now!

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Lilly’s Big Day is now in paperback! When Mr. Singer announces he is getting married, Lilly decides she’s going to be the flower girl. When she learns her best offer is to be an assistant flower girl, Lilly finds a way to share the spotlight. You can join the celebration with plenty of free teaching resources to use with this fun, best-selling read-aloud, including a Common Core–aligned teaching guide, an activity guide, and printable stickers! Click here!

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Don’t forget, submit a comment for a chance to win Peanut Butter and Jellyfish!

Karen


Put on Your Traveling Shoes! We’ve Got Contests and Freebies for You; Plus Win a Book!

Posted by on 04 Sep 2014 | Posted in: Contests, DK, Educational Insights, Freebies, Penguin, SmileTrain, Smithsonian, Studies Weekly, Websites

From England to developing countries to space, it’s time to put on your traveling shoes! First stop: take a voyage from the blazing sun to the planets that make up our solar system in The Planets: The Definitive Visual Guide to Our Solar System. This new book features images of all-new 3-D models built using data gathered by NASA and the European Space Agency.

Submit a comment to the blog by 11:59 pm EDT Sunday, September 14, 2014, to tell me which of the items below are your favorites. One lucky reader will win my copy of this book! (Update: Congratulations to Jaymi! She’s the winner of this book!)
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Did you know it’s the 50th anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Celebrate with a 30-minute Skype tour of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in England. Education Manager Isy Mead will lead you and your students around the museum virtually, providing a look inside Dahl’s real Writing Hut and letting them experience Dahl’s world and the inspiration behind his stories. Then participate in a Q&A! Skype opportunities are available Monday, September 29, through Friday, October 3, 2014. Click here to schedule yours!

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Don’t forget our developing countries. Empower your students to transform a child’s life through Smile Train. Millions of children with unrepaired clefts live in shame, but more importantly, have difficulty eating, breathing, and speaking. Cleft repair surgery is simple, and the transformation is immediate. Get free resources that explain what a cleft lip and palate is and the effects an untreated cleft can have, free service learning–based lesson plans, and fundraising materials. Click here now!

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As your students begin their educational journeys this year, let their parents know they could win a $300 gift card from Educational Insights in the Ahead of the Class photo contest! To enter, parents upload a photo of their child’s ahead of the class moment; the entrant who receives the most votes by September 26, 2014, wins! Click here now!
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Wrap up today’s travels with a great opportunity for you. Enter the Topics Kids Love, Skills Kids Need sweepstakes; you could be the lucky teacher to win an iPad or be one of 25 runners-up to win a class set of 30 Studies Weekly subscriptions! Studies Weekly units let you combine social studies and science content with Common Core language arts. You get access to extensive teacher resources, daily activities, supplementary material, and more! Try out a Studies Weekly sample unit for free. There’s a different one for each of grades K–6. Enter the contest and get your free sample units at TheMailbox.com/studiesweekly.********************************

Don’t forget, post a comment now for your chance to win my book!

Karen