Summer is quickly coming to an end. I am trying to savor each and every day, but we are going down the hill now as August approaches. Luckily, my daughter does not go back to school until August 29th. This will be the LONGEST summer I've ever had. Actually, I'm calling this time in my life #infinitesummer because it's end date is yet to be determined. If you've not stumbled upon my {newly drafted} About Page, you have probably not heard that I am taking this year off from teaching. I was flip-flopping constantly about whether or not I'd be staying at my school another year (I was doing a 35 minute drive which turns into a 40-45 minute drive in the afternoons). I was so happy at my school. My students were a joy to teach, my parents were kind to me and easy to serve, and I was so free to JUST TEACH. And, I know not everyone can say those things about their school environment, so I daily felt how blessed I was.

But, it was laid on my heart again and again that everything was not just right, and mostly it was in my heart that it was time to take some time off from teaching. If you check out my about page, you might learn that I recently got married and was blessed with a daughter as part of the package deal. #lifeforeverchanged #butinthebestways!

Well, if I ever had the power to set up the circumstances for life with children, I wanted to just be a mommy for a little while. My husband, brave, fearless, and supportive, {after listening to many of my flip-flopping conversations} finally encouraged me to "just do it" and take a year off. I'm not going to drone on about the teaching profession, how crappy North Carolina has been to teachers, or any of that, but after 11 years, YOU know as well as I do that there have been some AMAZING years and there have been some not so good moments. I think my soul became weary and my priorities changed. So, for a little while, at least for this year, I'm taking a break for myself and my family. I will still find ways to work with kiddos {like, my favorite part of teaching, right?} and I will be sure to share those experiences with you!

I've been working my {ideal} schedule for Tarheelstate Teacher all summer, and after you see this month's updates, I hope you agree that I have been making some major progress! {PS, if you want to learn more JUICY JUICE about me, I've also drafted my START HERE page. I'm just having trouble getting those persnickety headers to show up at the top of my blog!}

As everyone heads back to school, I'm cleaning up my Tarheelstate Teacher shop at tpt and I'm working hard to offer quality teaching ideas and resources to you all as I reflect on what I have always done as a teacher and the best practices I have developed over the years. For example, did you catch my minilesson for the first day of reader's workshop yesterday? It's an epically long post, but it might be just what you need to plan your first day of school!

I didn't realize I was going to pour my heart out to you {just a little, right?}, but I really wanted to check in and tell you about the things I've worked on in July {and a GIVEAWAY, don't miss that at the end!}. I have to say, I'm really feeling proud of all that I have accomplished this month. My teacher store was so dusty {like 2011 dusty for some of my resources} and it has really needed some tlc. I've had two extremely productive weeks. I've got one new resources to share AND lots of updates that occurred, so don't forget to go re-download to grab the newest version if you already own these!

make sure you get the newest version of everything

1) So, why not start with the BEST stuff first? I have been watching the EMOJI craze as everyone hits the dollar spots and gets ready for back to school, and well, I might have been someone who doesn't love an EMOJI...I mean, I do not jump into fads easily (I waited years on the capri pants movement). But, I just kept seeing emojis everywhere and an idea popped in my head. I have had my 48 Character Traits Definitions and Posters in my store forever. Actually it was one of the first products I put in my store that was really, well, can I say, awesome?!?

 48 character traits emoji theme reading vocabulary

So, if you are on the EMOJI bandwagon, you might want to take a closer look at these. If you purchased the original 48 Character Traits set, PLEASE go download again. It is so much better (fresh fonts, frames on the definitions, the activity sheets look so much better--really, redownload from your store and throw away the old!)

2) To add to the excitement of this EMOJI Character Traits, I decided to put all of my best literacy resources in an even bigger {MEGA} Literacy Bundle, so you can actually walk away with one character traits set for free! I can't say enough about my Reading and Writing Workshop Launch Kits. I have used them every single year since I created them and I'm not sure my brain could figure out another best way to start my year in reading or writing. Those are in a bundle themselves, but in the MEGA Literacy Bundle you get all of the following:

 Mega Literacy Bundle 4th 5th grade common core reading writing

3) I have...DEEP BREATH...updated EVERY SINGLE ONE of my FRACTIONS task cards. This was a daunting task, but when I left tpt Orlando, I told myself that I was going to get those updated and get the guilt crossed off my list. I had some funky things going on with the way I keyed the fractions in, especially the mixed numbers, am I right? So, I really needed to fix those and I am SOOO proud of the fact that I revised the last two early (like 4 am) Friday morning and then put them all into a bundle. The Fraction Task Cards Mega Bundle includes:

task cards for fractions for 4th and 5th grade common core

Since all of my updated resources happen to be in one of those bundles, I can actually keep this short and sweet. But really, if you've bought any of the fractions sets above, you need to go re-download!! They are so much better now. I am especially in love with how my House Plans themed set for multiplying fractions turned out. Design doesn't really feel natural to me, so it's really nice when the look of something finally clicks and makes me feel good. {Like that emoji cover, I mean come on, I was dreaming about EMOJIS and giddy when I told my husband about it! Haha... #noemojitalknextweekplease!}

Last, I want to make sure you caught my two reading-focused blog posts this month. I shared my 4 Important First Steps for Creating a Community of Readers and yesterday, I shared how I launch my LOVE OF READING Building a Reading Life Unit on the first day of school.

 Important First Steps to Creating a Community of Readers at Beginning of Year
 Launching Readers Workshop First minilesson love of reading

Are you still here? Do you want to hear about that giveaway? If you didn't see my giveaway post yesterday, you might want to check out all the details. {I just couldn't keep it under wraps!} My friend Brittany of Mix and Math and I are collaborating on an AWESOME Back to School Giveaway. Think, $pending $$ and some free resources for your and a teacher BFF to get your year started off Ahhhh-mazing!

 best resources for teaching 4th and 5th graders math reading

Brittany is giving away her Real World Math Mini Projects and a $10 gift card to tpt and I'm giving away ANOTHER $10 gift card and the winner gets to choose from my Mega Literacy Bundle or my Fractions Task Cards Mega Bundle, both nearly a $25 value each! ALL 4TH AND 5TH GRADE TEACHERS SHOULD ENTER!!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm gaining some momentum on my blogging, so you will definitely be hearing from me again, real soon! Carrie H, an elementary teacher who blogs @ Petal by Petal was sweet enough to leave me a comment about how I organize my back to school schedule, so I'll be writing about that in the near future! Ya'll I hope you had a Juicy July that wasn't too too hot, and I hope this August is the most amazing you've ever had!