Thursday, July 30, 2009

Time for a Test Drive!

I've been working on this new site for months and months, and it's time to let other folks take a look! It's sort of like when a new store is about to open and they let people in a few days before the grand opening. You have to make sure all systems are working! My site will be taken offline late Friday night so that we can make the switch, but for right now I'm going to reveal its "secret" location. Saturday morning you'll be able to get to it by going to

Before you click on the new site link, please be aware of the following:
  • Navigation is very easy, but one confusing aspect right now is getting back to the Home page from within the site. You can use the link at the bottom of the page, and when the site goes live you can click on the post it note at the top. Unfortunately, right now clicking on the post it goes back to the old site.
  • Some people using Internet Explorer 7 have experienced a problem with the drop down menus. Unfortunately, this problem can't be resolved. When we try to fix it, a problem crops up somewhere else. However, you don't need the drop downs if you just click on the main headings or use the links at the bottom. The problem is solved if you upgrade to IE 8 or use Firefox.
  • I was planning to switch to a new shopping cart system, but it's proving to be problematic. For right now we are sticking with the shopping cart/PayPal system currently on the site.
  • The search feature is only returning pages in the old site, but that should change soon.
Want to give it a try? Go to and poke around a bit. The shopping cart should work just fine. To celebrate this special occasion, I'm offering a special 30% discount on all my Power Packs! Just enter the word "newsite" into the Discount Code box in the shopping cart after you make a selection. This discount will apply to everything in the shopping cart! Be sure to click Update before you check out to make sure the code is applied to everything. If you find any problems, let me know by sending an email to I want everything to be perfect!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

How Do You Feed a Happy Thought Rock?

Remember the pet rock craze years ago? Recently I discovered a positive- energy twist on this old idea. Marie Bryant, a visitor to my Teaching Resources site, sent me an unusual gift - a box of rocks! However, these were no ordinary rocks. Each rock had been hand-painted with a unique happy expression by her husband, Wayne Dalzell. They were adorable! Included in the box was a small stack of cards labeled Care and Feeding. The back of each card said to feed the rock by telling it a happy thought every day. I was enchanted by the idea!

The timing of the gift couldn’t have been better. The rocks happened to arrive the day before two of my students had to retake the state reading exam. I let them each pick out a rock and told them to keep it in their pockets for good luck. I also gave them each a Care and Feeding card and asked them to follow the directions. They were so proud of those rocks! Watching them with the rocks gave me another idea - what if we wrote our happy thoughts in a journal, kind of like a gratitude journal? What a great way to focus on the little positive things that happen every day! So I created a small journal and shared it with Wayne. He liked it and created his own pages for the journal which were even better than mine.

Through several email conversations with Wayne and his wife, I learned that he is a custodian at a California school. He has been giving away his rocks for years just to spread joy to others, and he has lots of great stories about the positive impact they’ve had. He began giving the rocks as rewards to the students with the cleanest classroom each month, and before long he had painted hundreds of Happy Thought Rocks!

I was so touched by the gift of the rocks and by what Wayne is doing that I wanted to share the information with others. I set up a page on my site with the free printable journal and the information about how to order Happy Thought Rocks for your own students or for family and friends. Wayne’s prices are extremely reasonable - in fact, considering the fact that he paints each rock individually by hand, I’m not sure he can even make a profit at those prices! However, at this point he’s more interested in spreading joy to others than in getting rich.

Can you think of a better way to start the year off than by giving your students an adorable gift and having them journal and share their happy thoughts? Wow! The positive energy you generate from this one small investment could totally transform your school year! I’ll keep you posted about how the happy thought idea goes with my students this year, and I’d love for you to post comments here about your experiences with them. Visit the Happy Thought Rocks page on my site for more information and to download the free journal. Make this school year special by pumping up the positive energy in your room from Day 1!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

New Site on the Way!

If you are follower of the Teaching Resources site, you probably know that the site is getting a complete makeover. I'm excited that if all goes according to plan, the new site should be ready on August 1st! In the meantime, I'm giving you a sneak peek at the new design.

I hired Doug Brown Design to come up with the overall concept and do the design work, and now my daughter Wendy and I are uploading content and connecting all the links. We also have a programmer working on the shopping cart and other technical elements. It's lots of work, but it's so exciting! I'm finding files in the File Cabinet that I put there years ago and completely forgot about. It's like doing summer cleaning and reorganizing at home!

What's new and improved about the site?
  • More attractive, professional design and layout
  • Reorganization of site contents into 4 major categories with subcategories
  • Shorter pages with less scrolling
  • Drop-down menus
  • Clear, consistent navigation system
  • Search engine to search the File Cabinet and Strategies section
The most frequent question I get about the new site is whether I'll still have a File Cabinet with free materials. The answer to that is a resounding YES! I'm not changing anything about the content of my site - just its appearance and navigation. All the old content will still be there.

When the time comes to go live with the new site, please help me spread the word! My old site has a lot of great content, but it's outdated and difficult to navigate. My new site will combine the best elements of the old site with a clean, professional look you will love!