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A few of our favorite things

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We at The Teaching 2 Step would like to wish all of our readers and colleagues a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year. We would like to share some of our favorite things from this time of the year with you. Family photographs, family traditions and more. We thank you for following us on this journey and we look forward to what 2015 has in store for all of us!

a few of our favorite things blog post.001favorite things images for blog post.002Its the most wonderful time of year, with lots of holiday cheer. I truly love spending those precious moments with my family. With every changing year there is always so much to be thankful for. I am delighted to share with you a few of my favorite things during the Christmas season…

I love watching the Hallmark Channel movies during the holidays, my DVR fills up with all my favorites. My little ones fill the DVR with their holiday movies and we watch them together with cozy blankets, usually there is popcorn too. We enjoy a little holiday baking. Cookies  are a favorite desert around here. I love finding new recipes and the kids love trying them. My mom has tons of cookie cutters so they always come out unique with icing and sprinkles. Then a favorite during the holiday is decorating the tree it brings us all together, with Christmas music blaring and hot chocolate, we pull out each ornament and reminisce about family highlights.

The Teaching 2 Step: My Favorite Things at Christmas Time

 

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Hello everyone! I have to admit, I’m not an over-the-top Christmas person. My husband and I buy gifts for the kids, and then decide on a set amount for ourselves. We buy our own gifts. For me, the best part of the holidays is resting and just spending time with my family. I commute eighty-five miles to work each way, so when I get a break I am plain ole’ tuckered out. Over the break, we will probably take in a movie or two. My son and I both really want to see Exodus.

We will probably make a quick trip up to Oklahoma to visit my mom and step-dad, my sister, and all of the nieces and nephews. (My goal is to take them some of their favorite home-made jalapeno jelly & apricot jalapeno jam-I need to get cracky-lackin’ if I’m going to get all of that made!). Pretty much my whole family lives in and around a small town (If you blink, you’ll miss it) called Wapanucka. It’s about two hours from my house and lies in the Chickasaw Nation. My mom’s family settled there well over a hundred years ago on land they received back when Oklahoma was Indian Territory. In fact they received their land as part of the Indian land grants.

Finally, we will eat, eat, eat. After that, I’m making some changes (New Year’s Resolution maybe?). My small family has a tradition of letting the kids pick what they want for Christmas dinner. One year they wanted bacon cheeseburgers, so that is what we made. This year they want a traditional holiday dinner with ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, mac & cheese, and who knows what else.

Like I said, we’re a bit laid back! I hope you and your families have a wonderful holiday season!

Merry Christmas!

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I love EVERYTHING about the holiday season. However, one of my all time favorite parts is designing our family christmas card. Before my daughter was born, I will admit, I was one of those people who put my dogs on our christmas cards (because they are so dang cute). Now that I have my sweet daugther I scour Pinterest for great ideas  and then play with them in my own way.  Here are the results from the last three years.T2S_favorite things post.001T2S_favorite things post.002

favorite things images for blog post.005One of my favorite things to do during the holiday season is to ride the Christmas Train with my daughter. She gets so excited to see all of the lights and riding the train. I love just watching her. The look on her face truly brings me joy!

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My holiday traditions are fresh and new these days as this is my second Christmas with my husband as a married couple! This is also my first Christmas in our new home! There are a lot of changes this year as well since my brother (whom I am very close with) has moved across country and will not be home for Christmas. This is also my first year in about 6 years that I am NOT working retail! I get the next 16 days off from school and I do NOT have a second job, people! I am enjoying my fur babies, my wonderful mother, stepdad, and mother-in-law, my fantastic husband, all in my new home.

I am loving our tree and OUR ornaments on OUR tree. (Can you tell I’m fairly new to this living in my own HOUSE thing?!) ❤

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I am thrilled this year to begin a new list of favorite things and favorite holiday traditions that are my own. I’m sure these things will change when I have kiddos of my own one day, but for now, I’m going to enjoy my simple life and the simple pleasures of staying home for the holidays with my husband. Merry Christmas everyone!

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Wow…what a magical time of year!  Everything is rushed and life is moving at a faster pace.  All I really want to do is relax in the warm glow of my fireplace and sparkling Christmas lights.  Here’s a picture compilation of a few of my favorite things this time of year.  I hope this wonderful season finds you healthy and happy.Meredith Christmas

favorite things images for blog post.008My favorite thing to do in celebration of this time of year is go to the Christmas tree farm and pick out a tree.  It’s the same farm that I went to as a child.  So, finding a tree there with my family feels especially meaningful.  My boys love it because there’s fun tree carts to ride on (not sure if that’s technically allowed), hot chocolate, cookies, and even an autograph wall where we track our boys’ growth each year.  Getting a tree signifies the start of this magical time of year.

Wishing you and yours the happiest of holidays and a fantastic new year!

Check out the fun we’ve had through the years (and how many years we got out of that blue coat!)…

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Living in South Africa, our Christmases are anything but white!  It is summer here and we spend our holidays at the pool or beach.  On Christmas day we go to my parent’s home.  It is a big gathering and all the in-laws are also invited – as far as I know, we will be 23 this year.  All of us milling by the poolside, eating a delicious roast lunch and then (hopefully, if the weather  permits) take a walk down to the beach to “make some space” for an feast of puddings on return.

Even our dog, Jack, gets into the Christmas spirit.
Even our dog, Jack, gets into the Christmas spirit.

I love baking and use this time of the year as an excuse to bake (and eat) lots of treats.  My daughter also loves being in the kitchen so this is our special quality time together. We have been so busy with trying new recipes that I think that this year is the year to give baked goods as Christmas presents!

Baking

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I couldn’t help but think of the lyrics to “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music while I created my list of a few of my favorite holiday things! Creating this list was a nice way to reflect on the season and how grateful I am for the abundance of good in my life . . . I am blessed with many truly good people, good moments, good memories, and good living! Wishing you a beautiful holiday season with an abundance of good!

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I am such a traditionalist when it comes to Christmas!Santa Garland

I decorate with cones and evergreens, and with things that take me back to my childhood.Hurricane Vase with Candle

After finishing up the last of my Christmas shopping, I’ll be sewing gift bags. I buy fabric on sale after Christmas and pack it away until the next year. Then during the week before Christmas (or sometimes the week after depending on how busy things get) I sew and sew and sew. I make simple drawstring bags in a lot of sizes.  Drawstring Gift Bag I do still wrap presents that I’ll be taking to our family celebration at my sister’s house, but the presents that we open at home will be in gift bags. They are such a time saver, and reduce the waste of wrapping paper. But they also bring a homemade touch to gifts and can be used again and again. I just give them a quick laundering after the holiday and pack them away with the other decorations. I have a feeling I’ve started a new Christmas tradition – one that I’ll be happy to see passed on. I hope one day they are pulled from boxes with love, as treasured as the decorations that have been passed down to me.

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Special thanks to The 3 am Teacher and Winchestor Lambourne for the wonderful clip art used in this post.

Meet Our New Authors!

The Teaching 2 Step bloggers has grown by three new, amazing teacher authors! We are excited to announce all three of them today in this blog. To have some fun we asked them a few questions so you could learn a little bit about them.  Read below to see their answers. Then enter our TpT Giveaway and snag a copy of our ebook.

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Meet Mary Beth from Brain Waves Instruction.

What do you love about teaching

Mary Beth:  These days I’m actually not in the classroom.  A devastating budget cut meant that I had to leave my beloved middle school classroom.  However, I’ve found Teachers Pay Teachers to be the perfect outlet for staying connected to the profession I dreamed of doing since I was a child.  While in the classroom I loved two things – 1.  Laughing with my students and 2.  Helping them to feel smart and important.

What are your hobbies?

Mary Beth:  I turned some of my interests – real estate, interior design, and decorating into a new career (you know, after that job cut).  I started a Home Staging and Design business.  For over two years now I’ve had a ton of fun helping homeowners prepare their homes for the real estate market and others turn the spaces in their homes into  spaces they love.

What makes a good blogger

Mary Beth:  I love bloggers that have voice in their writing.  I’m also a sucker for pictures.  So, I’d say a good blogger has personality and a camera.

What's on your reading list?

Mary Beth:  I’ve just started Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  By “just started” I mean I read the same three paragraphs every night before falling asleep.  Maybe I should switch up my reading routine and read in the daylight…

How long have you been in education

Mary Beth:  I taught middle school for over ten years.  I also spent time teaching in Africa, Belize and England.  While teaching I pursued an advanced degree in Educational Leadership.  I had my heart set on writing curriculum.  That’s why TpT has been so wonderful.  I absolutely love creating fun and engaging resources for students (and teachers).

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Mary Beth:  I always wanted to be a teacher.  Always.  I set up classrooms in my basement.   I begged my elementary teachers for extra worksheets that I could use in my “classroom”.  I insisted that my neighbors be my students.  I never wanted to do anything else.  When I’m teaching, I feel so happy.  I have a feeling that more classrooms are in my future.

Thanks for the fun questions ladies.  It’s amazing to be blogging with you all!

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Meet Sherri from Literary Sherri.

What do you love about teaching

Sherri: I especially love helping students prepare to succeed in life! You know — saying hello when someone greets you, including everyone at the table in the conversation, smiling when you pass others in the hall, drying the bathroom counter with a paper towel, helping others pick up their dropped books. I love teaching academics, but when I watch my students become thoughtful, caring, and inclusive — absolutely nothing beats that!

What are your hobbies?

Sherri: I love to travel (especially any place historical), I enjoy live theatre, I craft wreaths, I’m always  reading a few good books, and I make the best spaghetti sauce ever! I don’t quilt, but I adore quilts and have a small collection of them!

What makes a good blogger

Sherri: I especially love reading posts that weave an engaging story with practical information, so I think good bloggers are those  who find the right balance between offering wonderful tips and ideas and personalizing their writing so you feel as if you’ve just had a  cup of coffee and a great conversation with a good friend!

What's on your reading list?

Sherri: Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini, An Invisible Thread by Laura Schroff, Cherry Ames’ nursing mysteries (first published in the 40s), and Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix (because I always have a YA novel in the works)!

How long have you been in education

Sherri: I taught school for 23 years and I  have been a Teacher-Author for 2 years (with a bit of subbing on the side) .

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Sherri: I started saying I was going to be a teacher when I was in 4th grade. I was the kid who cried on the last day of school prior to summer breaks and holiday vacations because I wanted to be in school, not at home. (Trust me — no more crying on those days now!) I loved school, I adored my teachers, I enjoyed learning, and I couldn’t imagine spending my life anywhere other than in a classroom!

I’m really excited about 2-stepping with you all! Thank you for inviting me to this dance!

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Meet Margaux Langenhoven.

What do you love about teaching

Margaux: I absolutely love it when a student who is struggling with a concept, suddenly has a light bulb moment.  The expression on their face when they experience success is priceless.  I also thoroughly enjoy the interaction with children; the chats, the laughs and the special relationships that are formed.

What are your hobbies?

Margaux:  I have a four year old daughter and my son is one.  I resigned from teaching when my son was born.  At this stage in my life my hobbies are my children.  I spend as much time interacting, playing, and laughing with them.  When I have a free moment, I really enjoy reading, knitting and of course, working on my TpT store.  Creating teaching resources has now become a hobby rather than a job.

What makes a good blogger

Margaux:  It is important for a blogger to be able to connect with their audience.  Communicating freely and easily makes the reader feel like it’s a conversation and that a relationship is being formed.  Eye-catching pictures are also a must!

What's on your reading list?

Margaux: Wow, I have read some amazing books, namely The Book Thief, Room and The Girl you Left Behind.  Unfortunately, since my son was born, I have not been able to really get into a book ( mainly due to a bit of sleep deprivation).  I am looking for a good book to catch my attention (especially seeing that December is summer vacation for me – I am in South Africa), so any suggestions are welcome.

How long have you been in education

Margaux:  I have taught Middle School for 7 years, mainly Math and English.  I am also Special Needs trained so would like to get into that field once my children go to school.

Why did you decide to become a teacher?

Margaux:  Both my parents were teachers (although my dad stopped teaching before I was born).  I used to ‘help’ my mom mark (oops, that’s a South African term that slipped in) grade papers as a child and when she moved from Upper Elementary to Preschool, I would spend my vacations ‘teaching’ her students.  Teaching is all I know, it is something I have always wanted to do.

 

The Teahing 2 Step Time for a Giveaway

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The Teaching 2 Step Meet the teacher ebook

All  of our bloggers have Teachers Pay Teachers stores. It is a place where we share resources for students.  You can download this e-book we created to  meet our teacher authors. You can find our best sellers, see what’s on sale, and find our favorite free product. Click on the image below to download the ebook from dropbox!

Meet The Teaching 2 Step Teachers Pay Teachers Authors eBook

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3 Free eBooks for Secondary Teachers

3 Free eBooks for Secondary Teachers

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Did you know there are THREE free ebooks now availabe on TPT for secondary teachers ?

Every product in these ebooks has  a “meet” the teacher page where you can learn some fun things about these great teacher authors and then they have a “teach” resource that you can download and use right away. There are so many free resources in these books. Remember to follow their stores and their blogs to keep up with them.

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 10.41.29 AMHumanities: Grades        6-12 HERE

This book was put  together by Literary Sherri . Check out Literary Sherri’s product in this book. She says, “Copy the following page onto white cardstock, laminate, and post in your classroom as a reminder to power–up writing by avoiding fluff phrases about our writing!”

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I am very excited to have been accepted into the Humanities book.  I contributed one of my interactive coloring sheets to the book. I hope you enjoy…

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…and look at all the other contributors to the Humanities Grades 6-12 BookScreen Shot 2014-09-28 at 10.44.18 AM

 

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 10.45.54 AMELA: Grades 6-12 click HERE.

Brain Waves Instruction put together the “Meet and Teach” ebook called ELA:Grades 6-12.  There are so many great resources in these books… here are a few.

Wow, look at this resource by Brain Waves Instruction…Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 4.32.52 PM Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 4.33.02 PM

This looks like a handy resource from “The English Teacher’s Pet”

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Here is another nice looking resource from that same book… great graphics!

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Look at the contributors to the ELA: Grades 6-12 book are… Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 10.51.29 AM

Screen Shot 2014-09-28 at 10.49.29 AMMath and Science: Grades 6-12 click HERE.

Need some Math and Science resources (uh, who doesn’t?) Check out the third eBook compiled by Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy (that’s a pretty cute name!).

Check out Utah Roots and this neat trick..

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The contributors to the Math and Science book are

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That’s a lot of free products folks!

I could go all day talking about these great teachers and their resources..but then I’d just delay you in going and downloading them yourself… so  go get to it!

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This post was written by Jenny K. If you enjoyed this post please  join Jenny K. on BloglovinFacebook, Pinterest and TPT.

See everyone “linked” up by clicking below.

The Teaching 2 Step Bloggers!

Welcome to The Teaching 2 Step collaborative blog!

The Teaching 2 Step

We are all very excited about collaborating about all things education! Today, we’d like to take the opportunity to introduce ourselves. Come join our 2-Steppin’ adventure!

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“I am an elementary art teacher and I work with 2nd through 5th grade students right now. I had a daughter 2 years ago, and when I did I went part-time so I could have more time with her. I have experience teaching kindergarten through eight grade. I live in Tucson, Arizona and am also a ballroom dancer. I taught ballroom dance for almost eight years in Virginia before moving to Arizona. I am an artist so teaching art is by far the best job I could have–I get to work with artists every day! The thing I love the most about teaching elementary school is that I get to see my students year after year and build relationships with them. My current 5th graders have been with me since they were in kindergarten. That is a very special part of my job. I love creating products for Teachers Pay Teachers because it allows me to make art integration for classroom teachers easy. I know all teachers appreciate the arts and want to find more time to create art in their classroom, but for a whole host of reasons it doesn’t always happen. My main goal with TPT is to bring more art to more kids via the fun and easy art integration lessons I create. Teaching art in the classroom allows me to reach a lot of students but sharing my products with teachers all over the world allows me to make a big difference! Art is important for children to be creative-thinking problem solvers and my goal is to make it easy and fun for teachers so they can integrate it into their daily life in the classroom.”

TPT store:  Art with Jenny K 
Personal Blog: Jenny K
Pinterest: artwithjennyK
Facebook: artwithjennyk

Meredith

I’m a National Board Certified Teacher who loves teaching the little ones. I have been teaching for 17 years and the time has flown by. I’ve spent most of those years teaching 1st and 2nd grades.  I love learning new things to try in the classroom and challenging my kiddos and myself to step outside the comfort zone. I enjoy blogging, crafting, working out, and traveling. Thanks for joining us on this collaborative adventure.
TPT store:  Meredith Berry
Pinterest: MeredithBerry
Amanda S_Meet the teacher author
I am a Kindergarten teacher in Central Florida and a theater instructor at a community theater for all ages (yes, even adult!). I am married with two fur-babies named Pudgy and Daisy! Sweet baby Daisy is my blog and store name inspiration. I love everything Kindergarten, enjoy long binges on Netflix, and love puppy snuggles. I have a lot of lesson plans and materials for grades K-12 in the areas of Acting, Singing, Dance, Musical Theater, and Play-writing. I have taught at a community theater for about 6 years now and originally my degree was in Theater! I changed majors and couldn’t be happier teaching! I haven’t been in a show in a few years, but choreograph many children’s productions. To me it’s important to always do what meets the needs of my students. Every class will be different. Every group of students will vary. Every student is unique.
TPT store: Daisy Designs
Fan Page:  Daisy Designs
Pinterest: DaisyDesignsTpT
 Celeste_Meet the teacher author
Welcome! I am a homeschool mom/teacher of four living in North Carolina. I have three sons and a daughter.  I love all things educational. My daughter in all her cuteness calls me Ms. Mommy.  I create resources for students on Teachers Pay Teachers in the primary years. Most of what we use in our homeschool you will find listed at my TpT store. Education for us means experiencing new adventures, wherever the road takes. We make it fun and record our finds a long the way.  It is wonderful to see them learn something new or to have that light bulb moment of discovery. Along the way I share some of our day to day experiences.
 Teaching 2 Step
Hello! I am a third grade science and social studies teacher in Dallas, Texas. I have experience teaching second, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. This will be my first year in third, and I am looping up with my students. I’m excited about that (I think…LOL). I am certified in Pre-K-6 and ESL, and I recently completed my M. Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Science Education.
I have been married for twenty-three years and have two teenagers, one is a freshman and the other is a senior. I live in the country, but teach in the city. In fact I commute 85 miles to work each day! I really feel like I have the best of both worlds when it comes to work and home. I’m a proud Texan and am one of those people that thinks Texas is the best place in the world (LOL). I love history, art, reading, traveling, gardening,and listening to classic rock n’ roll.
Pinterest: kghester
Instagram: kghester
Maryann

Hello! I’m Maryann and my teaching journey began in San Diego, California, where I grew up and went to college; it continued after my move 25 years ago to Lancaster, Pennsylvania. While the two coasts and the two cities are quite different, I love them all equally; fortunately, I’m able to travel to San Diego every couple of years to visit friends and family, eat some authentic Mexican food and walk along my favorite beach in La Jolla! Here in PA, I am about to begin my 22nd year of teaching high school English Language Arts, and I’m excited about it. This year will be the first year that my school will be a 1:1 school for the entire year! Since I use a great deal of technology in my teaching and classroom, having students have ready access to laptops will provide many unique learning opportunities we didn’t have before. I’m always eager to try what’s new, whether it’s technology, writing approaches, teaching techniques, reading strategies, cognitive strategies—I’m up for anything at all as long as its pedagogically sound. I’m constantly on the lookout for what’s inventive, effective, and energizing. There is nothing I enjoy more than working with teenagers (honestly!) and empowering them with language, technology, and life skills. When teachers come to my store on TpT, I’m able to extend my reach to students and classrooms across the country–and that makes me very happy!

Jennifer D.

Hey all! I am a third grade teacher in Houston, Texas. This is my 14th year of teaching. I have taught 6/7th grade, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. Wow, I can’t believe it has gone by so quickly. Two of my 6/7th grade students that I taught my first year are teachers now. It is so awesome to see the transformation from student to teacher in these wonderful young ladies. They are amazing teachers! I have been married to my wonderful husband for 18 years and we have a beautiful 3-year-old daughter. She has made me a better person and teacher. I have a  Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Early Childhood. My certification is EC-4th. I have been creating materials for TPT for almost 2 years. I love making new activities that I can use in the classroom for my students. I find it very humbling that other teachers spend their hard-earned money on my products for their students. It is an amazing feeling to know these teachers have entrusted me in making a difference in their students’ lives.

TPT store: Jennifer Dowell
Pinterest: jdowell
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