Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Story Behind the Logo

Have you ever caught yourself admiring a creative, fun, or entertaining logo, and wondered what was the story behind that logo?   I know I have!

Since my logo/business name (Penelope's Portfolio) is clearly different from my personal name, (Jennifer Jones), which can lead to questions, I thought I would share the story behind my logo.  I am linking up with Jenny from Art With Jenny K. to do just that!  Thanks Jenny!

About 2 years ago, my family was clearly outgrowing it's small sized SUV.  So when it was time to upgrade to something a little more roomy, I did some research and was able to find a larger SUV that suited our needs.  When I first met this beauty, she was oh so pretty, shiny and black.  I have always named my cars, as they are clearly part of the family.   She was no different.  I named her Calliope.  I sat with that name for about a week, I even shared a picture of the good news with my friends and family.  Here is that picture...

The name Calliope just didn't fit her personality.  I tried to make it work, but it was just wrong.  Then, I realized her true name.  It was Penelope of course!   Maybe I was influenced by the sentimental attachment to one of my first baby dolls I had as a child, named Penelope?  Or maybe, it was just meant to be?

Fast forward about a year.  I heard about Teachers Pay Teachers, and started researching/learning all about it.  Teaching myself basic graphic design, and focusing on education, psychology, and parenting tips were speaking to me a really BIG way.  I knew I needed to tie all of this together, so I started this blog, my store, my materials, and fell in love with all of it.

While in the research stage, I was focused on raising my three little ones at home.  My youngest at the time, was proving to be a "mommy's girl" in a big way!  I didn't want to ignore her while being focused on my computer when she really needed me.  My children were/are my first priority of course.  Therefore I needed to be able to work out of the house for some period of time each week, so that my time spent at home would be devoted to my children.   During my dedicated work hours, I would hop in Penelope and hit the road.  Sometimes Penelope would take me to the local coffee shop and wait outside for me to work.  Sometimes, she would take me to a park or nature area, provide me with cool air, an outlet to plug my devices into, and I would work that way.  My computer, notebook, papers, and all things work related would be spread out all over Penelope's dashboard and seats.  It occurred to me that Penelope was very much a part of the birth of my business.  Therefore, it seemed only fitting to me that this was her work, my work, our work.  This was our portfolio.  And that is how Penelope's Portfolio was born!  Silly, sweet, sentimental or not, that is the story behind my logo.

I taught myself very basic clip art techniques and designed the logo myself.  There were a few different versions/looks to start with, and this is what I ended up with...

That is the story behind my logo!  Do you have a logo?  If so, what is your story?

I encourage others to head on over to Art With Jenny K. to read about the stories of other logos too.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Five for Friday: September 18, 2015

This is my second time linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!  It is very exciting, indeed!

I have had a busy and fun last few weeks.  Here are five of my recent events...

This is a picture of our family recently going to a small local zoo and amusement park.  This kids had fun seeing the animals, riding the train, and playing in a water park.  It was nice family day!

I did something completely unexpected the following Friday after school, and surprised the kids with a short getaway to Santa Cruz!  I have never surprised the kids like this before, so it was fun to do.  If you haven't been to Santa Cruz, there is a boardwalk, ocean, and amusement ride park.  These pictures were taken on the boardwalk and playing on the beach.

A few days later, I submitted a page for The New Faces of TpT, and I was selected!  I am in the Specialists version, since I my materials focus on Character Education, and my background is in Psychology and Education.  I'm learning so much and loving being a TpT newbie!  You can download the free e-book Sampler here.

A few days ago, my extraordinarily talented and adorable teenage niece played with her high school marching band.  Our family went to the homecoming game and got to see her play.  The kids LOVED seeing their niece play and hanging out when it was dark outside!
This event is super exciting and currently taking place.  My Teachers Pay Teachers Story Video was chosen as one of the top 15 videos and is featured on TpT's Facebook video page tab!  I wrote a blog post about my experience which can be read here.  Now, I am in need of daily votes, (since this is a competition), until September 20, 2015.  There are only a few days left, and I am behind in votes, so I could really use your help!  You can watch my video below, but you have to go to my Facebook page and see the pinned post to vote.  Thank you!

Please go to my Facebook page, to see the pinned post, and vote!

Thanks for reading my Five for Friday!

Monday, September 14, 2015

What Did I Just Do?


TpT Love Video Contest

Um...wait, what?  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a video contest?  They want people to make videos expressing why they love TpT and they will ultimately pick three winning videos.  Yes, I'm in!

Last Saturday, I read about this contest and spent the day making the video.  I have to admit, I was struggling.  You know when you have one of those days when you just CAN'T be creative no matter how hard you try?  Yup, that was my Saturday.  Of course, it didn't help that I was locked inside my room to make the video, so that my kids wouldn't find me, and disturb the video/creating process.  Needless to say, four walls, and a window didn't leave me with a lot of filming opportunities!

I struggled throughout the day, but didn't give up.  At 2:30 on Sunday morning, I uploaded the video, and hoped for the best.

Sunday evening rolled around, and I saw a few other Teacher-Author's post that their video made the top 15!  That's cool.  I was happy for them.  Honestly, I was!  I didn't receive an email from TpT saying that my video was selected, and I understood.  Oh well, I gave it a shot.  I started browsing the videos selected on TpT's facebook page, so that I could pick one to vote for, and then saw my video!  Hold up!  What is going on?!  After a little research, and some help in the right direction from a fellow Teacher-Author, I found the confirmation email from TpT!  It went to Spam!  Ugh!  Well, that confirmed video made the cut, and it was one of the top 15 videos.  Woohoo!  How exciting is that?

I kept thinking about all the things I wish I could have changed/added to the video.   There should be less talking, and more pictures.  I should have filmed in multiple locations.  Should I have changed the music in the background?    Yikes!  Then, I remembered a pin I recently came across on  pinterest...

Great words of advice!  It's ok.  My video may not have all the bells and whistles of the other videos, but what makes it unique, is that it speaks from my heart.  I told my TpT story, and I was real.  I was in the moment, and I felt passionate about what was said.  I have to be proud of that, and let go of the rest.

So now what?  I am in need of votes, and lots of them!  I am new to TpT, and this is exciting, but not many people know I need your help.  I need you to vote once per day until September 20, 2015.  Thank you for your help!  I TRULY appreciate it.

Here is the link to my facebook page.  I pinned the video link to the top of my page.  Just click the picture, and click vote!

You can view my 2 minute video here, but you have to go to my facebook page to vote...

Thank You!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Teaching Perseverance to Children

Perseverance, Diligence, Hard Work, Determination, and Self-Discipline skills are an important and necessary part of life.   They aid in achieving success, and the more one embraces them, the more enjoyable a project may be.  Some people seem to be born as natural "go-getters" while others may need a bit more of a push to get things done.  I was one of those "go-getters" in high school.  I had a goal to never have homework, and I achieved that goal...I probably had homework only a handful of times in my entire high school career.  How did I do that?  I made a plan that every day during flex or study period, (depending on what you call it), I would work diligently to get my work done.  I also had another trick up my sleeve.  I was always decent at math, so during math class, instead of focusing on the lesson being taught, I would look at a few math problem examples in the book, teach the lesson to myself, and then do that night's homework in class, instead of focusing on the lesson.  Did I just admit that?  Yikes!  I'm sure that was not what my teacher would have liked for me to do, but my goal was to have no homework, and it helped get to my goal!  Another high school goal of mine was to purchase and own a car.  My family did not have much money growing up, and I knew a car was out of the question for me, unless I bought it myself.  So, I obtained a working permit at the age of 14, and got my first part time job.  I worked hard for the next few years, and saved up some money.  By the time I was 16, I was able to purchase my first car, without any financial help from anyone.   I think it cost $500, or was it $900?  I can't quite remember, but it was definitely under $1,000!  The car was older, and in "iffy" condition.  It didn't even have proper paint on it.  I had to purchase grey primer, and spray paint it myself!  Oh, the good old days!  I LOVED that car.  It didn't last too long, maybe a few years, or less, but the sense of accomplishment I have from working for it, buying it, and owning it, will last for my lifetime., just because I showed a lot of determination in the above examples, does not mean that I don't need a push now and then!   For example, I like to keep a clean house.   Do I deep clean and vacuum as often as I should?  Probably not.  I do keep things generally clean, but I let the floor go until I just can't take it anymore...or until I have to chase a raccoon who is eating crumbs off my kitchen floor, out of my kitchen!  Ok, just kidding, but can you imagine?

In all seriousness, life is about making choices, with some things taking priority over other things.  I believe balance is the key to happiness and the key to success in most things in life.  Over-working oneself, or ignoring the math lesson in class, probably aren't great choices.  On the flip side, sitting around and watching a raccoon feast on your crumb filled floor, probably isn't smart either!  So how do we teach children a healthy amount of perseverance?  Here are a few tips to get started:

  • Model perseverant behavior.
  • Teach children to make goals.  Help them create simple and appropriate steps to reach their goals.
  • Teach and encourage cooperation and team building skills.  When children work together, they learn from each other and are given opportunities to become leaders themselves.   Working as a team may strengthen one's interest level and desire to persevere in something.
  • Provide opportunities for children to experience the rewards and accomplishment of hard work.  For example, suggest ways for a child to earn money when wanting a desired item, (do chores, do yard work for a neighbor, set up a lemonade stand, etc).  Once the desired amount of money has been earned, allow the child to purchase the desired item with the money earned.
  • Read books and discuss role models who have persevered.

In addition to the above suggestions, I created a Perseverance Packet that may be used by teachers, parents, school counselors, social workers, special education teachers, speech therapists, and other specialists.  Included in this packet are activities, printables, posters, awards and more.

I hope you get a lot accomplished today!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Teacher Wisdom: Classroom Management Tips

I am happy to be joining up with Sarah from More than a Worksheet for this month's Teacher Wisdom linky.  Classroom Management Tips is the topic, and that is speaking my language!

I will be discussing something old, something new, something borrowed, and something true in regards to Classroom Management Tips.  Here it goes...
Something Old

This picture is of my, Character Education Posters and Awards.  I have to admit, these aren't terribly old.  I made and listed them about 3 months ago in my store.  But hey, I'm a newbie Teachers Pay Teachers seller, so this is the "oldest" product I have!  In fairness, teaching character education in this style goes way back for me.  When I first began teaching, I focused on one virtue per week in my classroom.  I am no longer in the classroom, as I am lucky enough to be a Work From Home Mom, who gets to focus on making teaching materials and write about parenting tips on the side.  My experience/background in Education and Psychology aided me in making these.

In case you are wondering how to incorporate these into your classroom management routine, here is my teaching suggestion...Focus on one trait per week.  Each day, display and discuss the poster and virtue meaning.  Supplement with books, printables, and activities.  At the end of the week, present a corresponding award to a child who has exhibited that trait well.

Something New

Keeping with the same theme...this is my NEWEST product, my Respect Packet.  Remember when I suggested using supplemental activities and materials in conjunction with the posters and awards?  Well, here is an example of a packet where you can do just that!  This packet focuses on respect and you can read more about it in my blog post, Teaching Children to be Respectful People, that was posted just yesterday! 

 Something Borrowed

I recently went to a book store in search of children books focusing on morals and values.  I purchased waaaay too many books and as a result, have been enjoying reading them with my children.  Two books in particular were fast favorites with everyone in our family.  They are perfect for teaching character education, which of course, aids in good classroom management.  The two books are...

Zero by Katherine Otoshi  (This book focuses on finding value in oneself and others).

One by Katherine Otoshi (This book focuses on acceptance and doing what is right).

These are must reads!  They are really engaging and keep the interest of kids and adults.  They are clever stories and quite unique.  They would be great to read to a class or with a family.

 Something True

Life is about making connections, building relationships, creating peaceful safe environments, and learning along the way.  We spend too much time stressing over the little stuff, and don't always fill our buckets and the buckets of others the way we should.  I wrote this letter/poster for students and children as a reminder of their value and importance in the world, and in the classroom.

Here is a larger view...

To read more about this letter/poster, you can view my blog post, Inspire Children to Succeed! or visit my TpT store for purchase.

Thanks for stopping by!

Please consider linking up with this brand new linky to add to the awesomeness of Teacher Wisdom!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Teaching Children to Be Respectful People

"Show respect to people who deserve it;  not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours." -Dave Willis

Teaching Respect...

Respect.  We all desire it, most of us deserve it, and sometimes we demand it!  Giving and receiving respect is one of the most powerful connections we can make to each other.  Therefore, if we appreciate and value respect, why is it hard to teach it to children at times?   I think because power struggles and egos take center stage and respect gets hidden behind the curtain.   We know that children learn to behave in a way that is modeled before them.  Therefore, it's important that we adults, set a proper example.  Showing respectful behavior to other adults is important.  Showing respect to children is just as important.  Sometimes, despite our good efforts to model respect, children simply act in a way that is not respectful.  It's possible this has to do with testing the limits, personality, and environment.  Whatever the case, it sure does feel frustrating when a child is disrespectful!   On the flip side, it's refreshing and wonderful when a child shows respect.

So how do you teach respect to children?
  • Model respect.  Children learn by example, so model, model, model.
  • Discuss respect.  It may seem obvious what respect is to an adult, but may not be as clear to a child.  Define and explain what respect means.  Ask questions.
  • Teach manners.  Teaching basic manners to children provides opportunities for children to practice compassion and develop empathy for others.
  • Respect someone.  Ask a child who they respect and ask them why they respect that person.  Brainstorm ways to show respect to that person, and take action.  Some ideas include:  write a letter to that person, help that person in some way, do a kind act for that person, tell that person why they are respected, do a chore for that person, etc.
  • Respect the environment.  Brainstorm ways to respect the environment, and take action.  Some ideas include:  visit a recycling facility and practice recycling, plant a garden, clean up a park, use less water, and save energy, etc.
  • Discuss disrespect.  Explain and define it.  Ask a child to think of a time they have been disrespected.  How did it make them feel?  Ask if they have ever disrespected someone.  What happened?  Discuss the importance of forgiveness.  Role play ways to handle disrespect and brainstorm ways to apologize. 
Teaching respect should be interesting, meaningful, and engaging.  Therefore in addition to the suggestions listed above, I have prepared a Respect Packet that may be used by teachers, school counselors, parents, SPED teachers, speech therapists, social workers, and other specialists when teaching respect to children.

What is your favorite way to receive respect?