I get a lot of questions from teachers about science, products, selling on TpT, recommendations, etc. I try to help when I can, but there are definitely times I don’t feel qualified to respond. I wanted to give all of my readers a little info about myself and publicly answer some of the frequently asked questions I receive.
Q: Why penguins?
A: Well, I’ve loved penguins since my first trip to Sea World when I moved to San Antonio in 1998. I am impressed by their dedication and tenacity when caring for their young.
Q: Why do you like science so much?
A: This is a recent development in my life. I always had a pretty severe aversion to science growing up. I loved math and I loved reading. Science was blah. Not fun. Ick. When I started teaching 2 classes of 5th grade science in my first job, I was terrified. First of all, I didn’t like it. Second, the content scared me. It took a lot of studying to get comfortable with the material and by my second year, it was much easier. I loved watching how much my students loved science and how involved they were with the lessons. These were not easy, breezy classes I had. Students with some very difficult backgrounds were into science and doing well. I knew there had to be something to it if they loved it so much! My students taught me to love it and now I try to teach my new students to love it, too.
Q: What’s your background in teaching?
A: I student taught with an amazing teacher in 4th grade in the fall of 2007, then continued at that school as a TAKS tutor and took a long-term sub position in 5th grade to finish out the year. I taught 5th grade for 4 years (math, science, and social studies at various times), then moved and taught 4th grade self-contained last year. I currently teach three blocks of 5th grade science/social studies. After 2 years of teaching, I decided to start my Masters in Curriculum and Instruction and completed that two years ago.
Q: What advice do you have for a teacher new to a testing grade?
A: Making the move from a non-testing grade to a testing grade must be daunting and scary. Since I’ve only ever been in testing grades, I’m not sure what it’s like. All I know is that planning and close alignment with the standards is extremely important. Make an outline in advance so you can schedule time for review. Review throughout the year. I wish I had a magic trick, but I just don’t.
Q: How do you handle science intervention in 5th grade?
A: Because of stations, I am able to meet with my intervention students regularly. We often do the same activities students are working on in stations, but I can provide the guidance they need in a small group setting. Science Stations Webcast
Q: What curriculum do you use?
A: I teach the 5th grade science TEKS. For the past four years, I have worked in CScope/TEKS Resource System districts. However, I don’t read scripts. I’m a teacher, not an actress. This year, I’ve had access to STEMScopes which has provided supplemental resources I can use for intervention. Mainly, I use the stuff I make. I have particular kids, past and present, pictured in my head when I make resources. It’s about teaching your kids, not following a plan put in place by someone who doesn’t know your kids.
Q: How do you schedule your science block?
A: That varies so greatly year to year. In 4th grade, I unfortunately had less time for science than I would like, but that’s the nature of the game. I like to have a solid hour 5 days a week. We use our notebooks almost everyday and do labs, group activities, or stations. Check out my Weekly Science Plans for more information.
Q: What do you include in your science journals?
A: I get a lot of questions about this and I do my best to answer them in blog posts. This link takes you to the “hub” where my notebooking posts are located. Interactive Science Notebooks
Q: What supplies do you have your students use?
A: Our main students supplies are 2 composition books, colored pencils, crayons, bottled glue, and markers.
Q: Will science stations work with high school?
A: I really don’t know. I wish I did, but I really have no idea. I’ve heard from 6th grade teachers that use them successfully, but that’s the highest grade I’ve heard from.
Q: Do you take product requests?
A: This was something I was able to do early on, but at this point, I really can’t. I love hearing what people need and are looking for and that definitely impacts what I decide to make. However, I do not take custom requests.
For Sellers and Bloggers
Q: How do you make things to sell on TpT?
A: This is a really complicated answer that is hard to explain. I work anywhere from 20-50 hours a week on products, social media, and blogging. I make all of my files in PowerPoint and use Google a lot. I have a Pinterest Board devoted to blog and TpT tips. Pinterest
Q: How long have you been blogging and selling?
A: I started my blog in December 2011 and started selling in January 2012.
Q: How do you find the time to do all of this and teach?
A: When you spend the whole day doing something you love, it’s really is. I don’t have kids and my boyfriend understands that I have am attached to my laptop at home. Honestly, it’s getting more and more difficult as my time at school increases, my hours asleep decreases, and the pressure I put on myself starts to push harder.
Q: Where do you get ideas from?
A: I think about what my students need and doesn’t already exist. If my students need it, chances are other teachers are looking for it, too!
Q: What advice do you have for a new seller?
A: Here’s what I would tell my best friend:
Make something new that people are not already making.
Make your products attractive…that doesn’t mean it has to be cute.
Put in effort with fonts, positioning, photos, and clipart.
Be mindful of copyright laws…educate yourself and protect yourself.
Be friendly with other sellers and bloggers, but don’t be pushy.
Consider the amount of time it takes to create innovative products.
Always be thinking about what YOU need in your classroom. Other people probably need it too. Look at what other sellers are doing right.
Don’t expect quick success.
Reflect on your blog and store constantly. Would someone who isn’t your mother think it looks good? Criticism hurts and you will be critiqued at times…consider the criticism and either make a change or move on with your life.
How did you get such a cute blog?
I had nothing to do with it. 🙂 Christi makes FABULOUS blog designs. Find her at Design by Christi.
I hope this helps!