Thursday, December 4, 2014

Easy Classroom Funds & a FREEBIE!

Hey all, I'm back! Two days in a row... CRAZY! :)

I have two SUPER FUN things for you today!

The first thing I want to share is a FREEBIE!! I recently hit a milestone on Facebook and promised that when I did I would post a freebie.... so I thought I would share it here too! However, it is NOT available in my TpT store, you it is exclusive to my followers to here to say THANK YOU! Click the picture below to download it from Google Dropbox!

Next, I have a tip for you on how to earn some extra funds for your classroom FOR FREE! and it's super EASY too!

It's a website called Swagbucks, where you can spend between 5-15 minutes a day (or longer, depending on your commitment and available free time) completing some simple activities that earn you Swagbucks that can be redeemed for FREE GIFT CARDS! WHAT!?

I know what you're thinking... too good to be true, right? I know I think that often... but I promise you, this is NOT! I randomly discovered this page one day, and have already earned over $100 in gifts cards to Amazon and PayPal! PayPal... LITERALLY FREE MONEY! It is awesome. You can then use the gift cards for whatever you want... but usually us teachers spend all of our extra money on our classrooms and kiddos, right?

So.. here's how you can get started and some examples of different ways you can easily earn Swagbucks and start getting free gift cards.

First.. you'll need to sign up for the account with your email address and create a username. You can click here to get started. Once you start your account, there are several simple ways to earn.

The first is to download and install the Swagbucks toolbar. It will then automatically earn you one free Swagbuck every day you open your browser!

You can also use Swagbucks instead of Google, Bing, Yahoo, or whatever search engine you use to earn Swagbucks towards those free gift cards. For example:

 Your homepage will look like this once you create your account. Simply type into the search box like I did, and your search results will come up. You might earn, you might not but the more you search the more likely you are to earn! Today, I searched for The School Supply Addict's blog so I could find a tutorial video of hers and I got 14 SBs just for searching through them! 
Next, you can complete some daily tasks. I'll show you these below, color coded by arrows.

The GREEN ARROW is your daily to-do list. Once you have the toolbar/button installed for your browser, it will automatically complete that for you and give you +1 SB. You can also answer a simple daily multiple choice question and BOOM +1 more SB. You can do the NOSO (NO Obligation Special Offers) for +2 SBs everyday. I simply click 'next' through each one, then enter the security display at the end. No more than a minute on that task. Then, the last one can be timely, but it's worth several SBs each day! It's Daily Crave. You click on it and "watch" a series of videos. Each time you click to "Crave On!" you earn SBs. I've earned 6-10 each time WITHOUT ACTUALLY WATCHING THE VIDEOS! Hence the watch in "quotation marks." I simply keep the window open, do some multitasking on other websites or documents or play on my phone until I'm done clicking through. I don't always do these though.. I usually just don't have the time or I forget. No biggie though. The screenshot of this was a day that I did do them, plus a few other things. I already was up to 19 for the day.

The PINK arrow shows you the number of SBs you collected that day. The more active you are, the higher the goal they set for you. If you don't reach that goal, no big deal. If you do, you get BONUS SBs that are awarded around the 5th of the next month. You can rack up those bonuses daily too. If you reach your first goal, they set a second one that is higher, but comes with a higher bonus too. For example, my goal on the above day was 40. If I reached 40 I would get 4 bonus bucks next month on the 5th in my account. My next goal is usaully 100 for the day and I would get a bonus of 10. But like I said, it varies based on your activity. My goal is usually 30 but because I was credited for Shop ^ Earn a day or so before that, I had a higher goal. I'll explain Shop & Earn below in a bit..

The BLUE arrow shows where you can redeem your rewards. More on that in a bit.
The PURPLE arrow is where you can see your earning history and current SB amount. I'm already ready for another free gift card! YAY! I'll redeem that now and show you your reward choices.. you'll love those :)

You can earn one more simple way .. with your phone. Of course, like everything else. There's an app for Swagbucks. Download it onto your phone from whatever store you need for a Droid or iPhone. Then, log in with your Swagbucks username like you do on your computer.
From the app, you'll be notified for the next way to earn... Swag Codes. They are simple phrases that Swagbucks releases on their various social media platforms. You had a set time to enter the phrase by and if you do, you get some SBs, anywhere from 3 to sometimes 7 or 8. Here's an example of one I just completed.

The picture on the left shows the Swag Code they posted on Instagram. I knew to go to IG because the app pop up told me to! I saw the code and the time I needed to enter it by (the app notifies you instantly though) and went to the app to type it in. This code is "SweaterSeason." You have to enter it EXACTLY as shown. Capitals and no spaces. I put it into the app as you see in the picture on the right and instantly earned 3 more SBs. There have been some special days where they release multiple codes in a day for a chance to earn 30+ SBs. Super simple. It takes literally one minute. They can post the codes in these places: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or their blog. (I just click to get to the blog from the homepage, which is the green icon right below your daily to-do list).

You can also earn by taking surveys. I don't usually meet the requirements for them, so I rarely attempt them. Your homepage also has several opportunities, some are quick and free, others are for signing up for something and may cost money. Once, I was able to sign up for Julep, got a free box from them (they are a nail polish subscription company) and got 500 SBs just for doing it! That's a free $5 giftcard!

Lastly, you can use Swagbucks when you are shopping to earn a TON of SBs in one shot! To do it, simply click on "Shop" at the top of your home page. It should be on the far right in the blue toolbar. From there, find the store you want to shop at online. It will show you if that store is eligible and how many SBs per dollar you earn by shopping there. Click the link to the store and it will take you directly to their website. I ALWAYS go through my home page so that I KNOW it opens the shopping ticket for me. From there, make your purchases as usual. I've earned from Microsoft when I bought the latest version of Office for my new laptop, from when my husband and I were traveling, and even on Amazon.

Here's how you can track your Shopping Earnings. On the homepage, go to your name and hover over it. It will drop down several selections, like this.
Click on Shop & Earn. From there it will show you the shopping tickets you have opened (it takes at least a day or so to post them). Then you can choose to see the purchases you have completed. (Again, it takes a day or two to show them). There it will show you how many SBs you earned and when you will receive them. The only downfall is they take 1 month to credit. But I usually find that they are worth it!

Here's what those pages look like:

Above are my shopping tickets. I didn't always make a purchase until I was ready (like you see for Microsoft Store)

There are my earnings through shopping. Some websites are worth more than others. You can see I most recently purchased from Amazon, but they only award certain departments and my books didn't qualify. Those departments change too, so it can be tricky to earn through them but I still always try! They recently updated this section and made it much easier to see your earnings and expected postings! SO NICE! 
Another thing about the Shop & Earns is this - you know that goal and bonus I mentioned above?? Well, your Shop & Earn SBs count for that goal the day you get them! Basically, you get some 8-10 ore SBs just because!

And now, finally, in the words of the amazing Kenny Chesney.... THE GOOD STUFF! 

Once you have 450 SBs, you are good to go on getting a gift card reward. I think with less of them you can spend them to enter sweepstakes to try to win stuff, but I never do. It seems pointless - I never win anything. If you seem to be lucky though, give it a try! 
Anyhow, the more you save up , the bigger the reward you can redeem. It's up to you and your patience level. I am not patient. ha!

So, since I have enough to redeem I'll show you the simple steps. Once you go to the Rewards Store from your home page (the blue arrow above shows you where) you can see what is available. Here's what it looks like:

You can see I can earn a $5 gift card already with my 608 SBs at the moment. Those are what I usually buy.  However, I know they have Target and Starbucks, plus PayPal as I mentioned before. You just need to save some more for PayPal. They also have differing amounts which cost more too. Look around and see what they have. Amazon works for me, but I'm sure there are tons of others!

So, once you decide which one you want, click on it. 
When this screen pops up, click the green button that says SNAG THIS!

It will then ask you to Submit your order. Once you do, you will need to verify that YOU purchased it with your email or the security question you answered when you set up your account. I usually go this route if I am doing it from my computer so I can instantly verify it.

Above, I answered the security question and it shows me right away that I am verified. It also shows my updated SB balance after the purchase. I still have 158 left. In about a week or so, they will email me that I have received the gift card in my Swagbucks account (which you access in the same way as your Shop & Earn) and I can copy the code into my Amazon account for $5 toward any purchase! THAT'S IT!

Here's a look at that page once you get the gift card. You can see I got one not long ago in November and one in October. I like to put them into my account and leave them there for Kindle purchases. That way I always have Amazon money waiting for me... FOR FREE! 

I just counted my total gift card earnings since I started in August of 2013 and so far I have gotten $125 worth just for using their website and doing the things listed above! That's just over a year I've earned that! What I have done isn't nearly what you could do. Some people do it for an hour or so a day doing several other more advanced things. Some people do it to the point the make themselves one gift card per day. They do team challenges you can join, have SwagbucksTV, tons of surveys, and a bunch of other things I just don't have the time for, but I know they also make a lot more SBs for gift cards doing so. Maybe in the summer I'll find time...... yeah, right! If I did, I would totally get the PayPal gift cards for free money to transfer into my bank account! I have done that before and let me tell you, it was great. It just takes patience to save up to 2,500 SBs..... of which I have very little to none.

WHEW! That was quite a long post and tutorial but I hope you found it helpful and that you decide to try it out and join me in earning FREE GIFT CARDS! It's super simple and you can put in as much time as you want. You can use the gift cards for anything you like, including your classroom. What teacher wouldn't love that!? Then, you can refer your friends and earn even more SBs that way! I've never really referred anyone to earn that way, but I know it can make you a lot more!

If you have any questions about it, feel free to ask! Comment below or email me at I'd be happy to help you out because I think us teachers need all the tools we can get to supply our classrooms without breaking the bank!

Have a blessed evening and Happy Swagbucking!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

SnOw Excited!

Hey there friends!
I am SNOW excited for SNOW many reasons!

First of all, we had our FIRST SNOW DAY already this year! It actually happened a couple of weeks ago in the middle of November...WHAAAT!?? I know, right?! It was crazy. I hope it's not a foreshadowing of our NE Ohio winter ahead! I told my Grandpa about it, who lives in Florida now but grew up here. He said, if it stays at this rate, I could be teaching well into July! oi! I sure hope not!

I am also excited because I got the NEW Skippyjon Jones book titled Snow What!

It is just SO CUTE! I got it about a week ago and had to share it imediately the next day morning with my kiddos because I just couldn't wait to show it to them and put it out in the library! They just LOVE Skippy [as we affectionately call him :)] and look forward to every Friday afternoon when they get to find out who goes home with him for the weekend! It bought the Literacy Bag they sell on the official Skippyjon Jones website, plus a Skippyjon Jones stuffed animal from Kohl's Cares (who can beat $5!?)

I'm also excited to show you my new door decor and bulletin board for winter! I just LOVE them both!

Here's my door:

I used teal chevron wrapping paper I bought at Target as the background. I just love using wrapping paper! Do you?? I also used Poppy Red Chevron Border from Creative Teaching Press and broke up the pattern with a plain black border to make the edges really pop. I then used those amazing KG fonts from Kimberly Geswein to make the lettering. I printed the J in white with a black outline in Blank Space Solid and make the Jesus in KG Blank Space Sketch in red. I printed them onto cardstock, cut the out and laminated them. I covered the J in silver glitter to make it stand out. (I love glitter!) The is for is the font KG Always a Good Time. I also made the Legend of the Candy Cane poster with a poem I found online. I used some candy cane clip art from Krista over at Creative Clips to add some extra flair to match the poster I made. My colleague in 4th grade saw the garland at Dollar Tree so I added that on there. Finally, after reading the book The Legend of the Candy Cane to my students, we made our own candy canes and 'Js for Jesus.' They were super simple and yes, I broke out the glitter for them! I know a lot of teachers don't like glitter.. but I just love it! :)

Finally, here is our new bulletin board for winter. It isn't quite done because we have to still do the craftivity and writing, but it's at least up and looks good for now!

I really love this board because I was able to utilize the wrapping paper and red polka dots border I put up at the beginning of the school year. I only had to take down our original board and change the top layer of border to transform it for winter. I have a HUGE bulletin board that takes at least a roll and half of wrapping paper. Plus, I love that blue and white stripe pattern and Target is all out of it, so I wanted to make it last all year! I try to do that often over the course of the school year. I'll be blogging about that soon to share with and show you how I keep that background and borders up year round!
So here's how I made it... again, I used chevron border from Creative Teaching Press, this time in gray. (It had previously been yellow for our Superhero Kids theme). I then just added some foam snowflake cutouts I had randomly around the edges. I printed some snow globe clip art from Krista again at Creative Clips and used KG fonts for my title. The 'If I lived in a" if KG Blank Spaces Sketch again, and "snow globe" is KG Wake Me Up. Again, I printed on card stock and laminated them so I can reuse them! Next week we will work on this craftivity and writing piece since we had some other things to work on this week. I can't wait to show you what they write and come up with! I am still thinking through exactly what I want the craft to look like. Here's some examples I found on Pinterest...

Aren't they adorable?! I'm not sure which one, or combination of them I will come up with. But I'm excited :) I do know I will take their pictures to put in them. They are just too cute :) I pinned a bunch of ideas on my Pinterest board Teaching [crafts] if you want to check out all my pins and pin with me!

Well, that's all of my SNOW excitedness for the moment. What are you SNOW excited about??
Happy December, friends!