4th Grade Frenzy: July 2017
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July 27, 2017

Best Field Trip Ever!

"Best field trip ever!" declared nearly all 96 Fourth Graders as we trudged out of the quarry...

For the first time since its opening, our grade level/school/district secured a coveted time slot to visit Rowan Fossil Park in Mantua, New Jersey. (Recently renamed Edelman Fossil Park)

After months of planning, a glorious fall day presented itself for our one and only field trip of the year.

Students spent the first hour of our visit rotating through stations learning about fossils in general and the specific types of fossils that have been discovered at Rowan Fossil Park.

Finally, it was our turn to head down into the quarry!

And guess who we met down in the quarry?! A real live paleontologist!

Dr. Lacovara told us that if we were alive 66 million years ago, we would have been standing in the ocean!

Then Dr. Lacovara set us loose to go and dig for our very own fossils! We were even allowed to sit and dig in the mud! No worries about getting wet and muddy....we all had a change of clothes back at school.

The best part of the trip was that we could take home all the fossils that we found! How cool is that?!

We are so very fortunate to have Rowan Fossil Park right in our backyard! We are grateful to Rowan University for making this educational experience possible.

Best field trip ever?....Yep!

Sound interesting to you? They hold events open to the public...but sign up for their emails because the slots fill up very quickly! People from all over the world have visited, and plans for expansion are underway. I am not an affiliate, but I have volunteered at the Fossil Park!

Edelman Fossil Park Website

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July 13, 2017

How to Yard Sale Like a Boss: A Teacher's Survival Guide

You need cool things for your classroom, but you don't want to break the bank. Have you tried yard "sailing" for some great bargains and interesting finds?

I was introduced to flea markets and yard sales at about age 7. The kids across the street always had "new" and interesting toys to play with that their parents picked up at yard sales. I had so much fun playing at their house. I remember that one time the family even took me to an auction and bid on a box of toys that they gave me. At the risk of dating myself, I must say that I was one happy camper driving home in the back of their station wagon! My mom caught the flea market bug, and we started a weekly trip with my cousins. Talk about fun times and memories! Our trips to the flea market expanded to yard sales, and as I got older they were a teacher's dream come true. I've picked up some tips over the years that I'd like to share. If you have never tried yard "sailing" before, grab a friend, and give it a try!

Here are some of my latest yard sale finds. I hit the jackpot when I found a teacher who had recently resigned to stay home with her own kids. Once she found out that I was a teacher, she was practically giving her stuff away!

Fun Stamps for Stamp a Story

Brand New Markers

Prize Box Items

Math Station Game

Magnetic Labels 

Emoji Stamps

Here are some steps to follow:

1. Find out when and where the yard sales are. Some are still published the old-fashioned way in the local newspaper, but I usually use sites like Garage Sale Finder. (Not an affiliate!) You can also look for signs around your town. My favorites are church yard sales and neighborhood yard sales as there is usually great participation and selection. Don't overlook estate sales! You may think that everything is old and collectible type stuff, but many people who are simply downsizing have estate sales too. Most sales are held on the weekends.

2. Plan your route to make the best use of your time.

3. Get up early, and head out!*

4. Smile and greet the seller. This sets the stage for good communication. They may ask you if you are looking for anything in particular or mention some items and prices. The last sale I was at, the seller said, "Books and stuffed animals are free!" What?! Just in time for updating my class library!


5. Consider stating that you are a teacher. I have gotten many good deals this way as sellers are usually delighted that their items will have a new life with your students.

6. Negotiate prices. You are not being cheap...sellers expect this! For example, if the price of an educational toy is $5.00, you might say, "Will you take 3 for this?" The worst the seller can say is, "No." Usually, sellers accept reasonable offers. Sometimes, they might counter an offer back like, "How about 4?" So go ahead and make offers.

7. Pay for your items, say thank you, and head to the next sale!

*Hint: Heading out early gets you the best selection. Arriving later tends to get you the best prices. After all, sellers don't want to have to put this stuff away!

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