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A 2020 Go Figure Debut for a Retired Educator Who Is New!

In her 25 years of teaching, Laurie has taught kindergarten, Early Literacy Intervention Classes, and grades 1-4. She is now a retired educator who is passionate about literacy. She enjoys sharing intellectual knowledge with colleagues and keeping current on research in the science of reading.

Her primary focus is students in Pre-Kindergarten through second grade. Laurie believes all children should have the opportunity to learn in a safe, secure environment. Often, she finds herself creating ways to scaffold the learning for the varying ability levels of each child. Her goal is to share information and resources that will help both parents and educators empower children to maximize their reading and writing potential.

While Laurie was hosting workshops for systematic phonics, French teachers requested resources to support learning to read and write, using the Science of Reading, in French. With the assistance of French teachers, those resources became available in her Teachers Pay Teachers store. Check out what is available there by clicking on this link:

When Laurie was in the classroom, it was active! The children were respectful and listened as appropriate during lessons; however, once released to work at center activities the classroom was a hub of energy. Kids talked, shared, discussed, role-played, and challenged each other. They used what they had been taught and applied it to the task of ‘being a kid’ who was learning to read, write, investigate, and explore. Laurie learned:
  1. Expect more, not less…of each child. They will do their best to live up to your expectations.
  2. Listen. Be mindful of what is happening in each child's life.
  3. Have fun teaching. The kids will have fun learning!
  4. Keep the children engaged and active. Enjoy controlled classroom chatter. The children are processing life and learning.

Free to Download
Her TPT store, Primarily Learning, currently has 323 Early Literacy Resources. Some are in both English and French, in PRINT or SASSOON Font. Thirty-five are free to download. Laurie has also authored Jolly Songs for Jolly Learning Ltd., and created Kindergarten Assessments Books for Scholastic. She now enjoys the challenge of creating for TPT.

Her featured free resource is entitled 7 Ending Blends Activities/Word Work Activities. It contains:
  • A variety of activities to help children practice, learn, and consolidate their knowledge about ending consonant blends. The final consonant blend activities provide numerous and varied multileveled learning opportunities for kids.
  • Options for reading words include text only. Support is provided to scaffold learning.
  • Activities and worksheets can be completed with reference cards, as needed.

Laurie’s paid Resource is Handwriting Practice aligns with the Science of Reading - 42 Letters and Sounds and contains:

  • 42 basic sounds to practice and print.
  • Upper case letters, Lower case letters and Digraphs are included.
  • What sounds do the letters make?
  • Can you recognize the sound?
  • Make letters and sound connections as you practice handwriting skills.
  • Can you find and draw things that use these sounds?
  • Trace the sound within the lines. Trace on the dotted lines.
  • Print the sound.
  • Print words.
  • Print sentences.
  • See it. Say it. Trace it. Print It. Draw it.
Laurie is a mother of three and a grandmother of six wonderful kids aged 5-16! She lives in Niagara, Ontario. Her family goes coast to coast! One son and his family live about two hours away. Her daughter and her family live in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Her oldest son and his family live in Seattle, Washington! With a sister in Florida and more family in Europe, they are just getting back from visiting to visit each other again! Thank goodness for video calls and technology!

Looking at her resources and accomplishments, it’s apparent that Laurie is an expert at what she does. So if you want to learn more about learning to read and write, visit Laurie’s website called Primarily Learning.


In 2022, my blog is featuring Teachers Pay Teachers sellers who are also TBOTEMC members. Both Laurie and I are members. "The Best of Teacher Entrepreneur's Marketing Cooperative"  (TBOTEMC) are teachers who advance their resources as a group. Why not consider joining TBOTEMC to meet a great group of people and to gain exposure for your TPT Store?

FREE End of the Year Activities

Free eBook

Finish the 2022 school year with these Free End of the Year Lessons by members of The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative (TBOTEMC). There is something free for everyone in this 16 page eBook so take a look! Here are just a few examples of what you can download for free:

  • Beginning Sounds Worksheets Spring Literacy Mystery Pictures
  • Kids at the Beach Subtraction Math Center
  • Differentiated Sample Packet
  • FREE Math Geometric Puzzles
  • End of the Year Award Freebie
  • Free Lesson Ice Breaker Storytelling Using Jigsaw Puzzle Pieces

Also check out these past free eBooks for Back to School, Winter, Valentine's Day and End of the Year. 

Here are the links to the past seven End of the Year eBooks by TBOTEMC.  If you are interested, just click on the year to download the FREE resource.

2015               2016              2017             2018            2019            2020            2021


The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative is a group of teachers who work together to market their Teacher Pay Teachers products. Using the power of cross promotion, TBOTEMC members are able to use their combined social media sites to their full potential. If you are a TPT seller, consider joining The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative. For more information, email Victoria Leon at about TBOTEMC.

Making Falcon Hoods - A Hands-On Activity for the Book, "My Side of the Mountain"

Each year, my husband's science students read My Side of the Mountain. The main character in the book is Sam Gribley, a boy in his early teens. For a year, Sam lives in the woods of the Catskill Mountains. One day Sam spies a peregrine falcon pursuing its prey. Sam determines he wants a falcon as a hunting bird; so, he goes to the nearby town of Delhi to learn about falconry (hunting small game by using a trained bird of prey) by searching books at the local library. For several days, he camps near a cliff hoping to find the location of a peregrine falcon nest. While the mother bird attacks him, Sam steals a female chick from the nest. He names the bird Frightful, and it becomes one of Sam's closest companions. 

If you are acquainted with falconry, you know that peregrine falcons will wear a hood to keep them calm and to make certain they are alert for the falconer. The falcons are also trained to go into hunting mode once the hood is removed. A good falcon hood does not bother the falcon. If it fits well, it does not damage the bird’s feathers or hamper its breathing. Under no circumstances does the hood come in contact with the falcon’s eyes. Out of all the falconer's aids, the hood is the most important piece of equipment. In the book, Sam makes jesses (leg straps), leashes and a hood out of deer skin for Frightful. My husband figured if Sam could construct a falcon hood, then maybe his students could as well.

Using the Internet, (Hood Patterns) my husband found several hood patterns. (Most hoods are custom made by hand and can cost $150 or more!) He purchased faux leather from the fabric store as well as special needles and thread. The students practiced sewing on scraps of the material before cutting out their own patterns and sewing them together. Below is a summary of the process in pictures.

What makes every hood unique is that each falconer decorates the hood in an extraordinary way. They may use elaborate feathers, pieces of colored leather, ornaments, etc. Sometimes, they are even hand painted, dyed or uniquely tooled. Here is what a few of the handmade hoods looked like after the students decorated and embellished them.

Overall, this was a successful book assignment which was not only creative and imaginative, but it gave the artistic students a chance to shine. As a result, you might want to try this project in your classroom as well. So I wish you good luck, good reading and good hood making.

If your class is reading this book, here are three supplementary resources for My Side of the Mountain that you might be interested in.
Two Word Searches - This resource contains two different word search puzzles about the survival materials used by Sam, the main character in the book, My Side of the Mountain. Both puzzles include
the solutions.

A Crossword Puzzle about Birds - This is a free form crossword puzzle that highlights 16 different birds which appear in the book My Side of the Mountain. The 16 clues are based on the bird’s unique characteristics, color, and song.  A solution key to the puzzle is included.

Crossword Puzzle about Plants - This is a free form crossword puzzle that highlights 18 different plants which appear in the book My Side of the Mountain. The 18 clues are based on the plant’s distinctive characteristics, color, size and physical appearance.  A solution key to the puzzle is included.

Pinterest and the Benefits of Using Tailwind to Increase Traffic to your Teachers Pay Teachers Store

Maybe you have heard of Tailwind and maybe you haven't. To set the record straight, it is not a wind blowing in the direction of travel of a vehicle or aircraft or a wind blowing from behind. It is a Pinterest and Instagram Marketing, Scheduling and Analytics Tool.

I was first introduced to it on the Teachers Pay Teachers blog. Since I use Pinterest (I have 53 different boards of my own, and I belong to 63 collaborative boards.), I am always pinning new ideas, teaching strategies, Ohio State stuff (Go Buckeyes!), ideas for my college classes, etc., I decided to try using Tailwind instead of individually pinning each resource from my TPT store or blog. Before deciding if the paid plan was right for me, I was able to schedule up to 100 pins on Pinterest for free . What was nice is that there was no time limit on that free trial! It allowed me to schedule up to 100 pins on Pinterest while I could watch my analytics and the number of repins my items were receiving before deciding if the paid plan was worth the money.

I saw several benefits right away! More traffic was coming to my Pinterest Boards as well as to my Teachers Pay Teachers StoreI therefore decided to invest in Tailwind.  I am aware that pinning everything all at once isn’t ideal; consequently, it is important to space pins out a little so I'm not overwhelming my followers. Pinterest has even suggested that too much pinning in a short time period could be viewed as “spamming”, potentially hurting my rankings in search results and feeds. With Tailwind, I have the ability to create my own posting schedule, and I can use interval pinning to space out my pins so "spamming" doesn't happen. I can set a time period between when each image that is pinned anywhere from two days to 90 days apart. Tailwind even gives me the best times and days to post.

Here are some ways I am currently using Tailwind:
  1. To schedule pins
  2. To know when the best time to pin is using the Smart Calendar
  3. To schedule multiple pins to different boards at the same time
  4. To use interval pinning
  5. To use Smartloops - They let you automatically repin the same type of content to specific boards without having to revisit them. 
  6. To use the Tailwind Analytics - to know which are my best pins and where my repins are going
  7. To find my best pins using Pin Inspector
  8. Create new pins from scratch using Tailwind Create - I use this all the time to take an old, outdated pin and remake it into a new pin. You just add your images, and it will create hundreds of pin designs that you can choose from and instantly schedule into your Tailwind queue.
I know this sounds like a long advertisement for Tailwind, but I am so excited about the many benefits and results of this service, I just had to share it with you, my readers. If you are interested in joining Tailwind, I have a Tailwind tribe called Math Counts where any teacher who teaches kindergarten through high school can post math resources for free. Each person in the tribe adds their own pins in the queue. Once you see the pins in the queue, you can add them to your scheduled pins in Tailwind so your resources keep getting re-pinned to different boards. Tailwind has said that you do not have to be a paying member of Tailwind to be in a Tribe. Here is the link if you are interested in joining Math Counts. Just copy and paste it into any search engine.

If you decide to join my tribe (which costs you nothing), you will also get a free month ($15 credit) if you ever decide to join the Plus plan. Most bloggers only need Tailwind Plus, which costs $119 per year when paid annually. If you choose to pay monthly then it costs $15 per month, or $180 per year.

Getting started with Tailwind is easy. In the members area are five training videos that walk you through everything step-by-step and in much more detail than this blog post. There’s also an in-depth FAQ section, and if you get stuck with anything, their customer service is responsive and helpful. All I can say is that it makes running my Pinterest account much easier; I can be more strategic in my Pinterest marketing efforts plus it saves me a ton of time!  I hope you will check it out.