Please say hello to Miss Giraffe (the one on the right). Miss Giraffe lives with her husband and three kitties in Arizona. She loves to create, travel, and take pictures and says her guilty pleasures are shopping, reality TV, and Mexican food… I’m betting a lot of us can relate! Miss Giraffe has a really vibrant and lively teacher blog called Miss Giraffe’s Class. It’s packed with beautiful ideas and images that inspired us to ask her some questions about her fabulous techniques.
1. Your blog’s mini-bio is hilarious and really informative for such a small space! One thing you say is that you love taking pictures. The images of your resources are so well composed, and the colors are incredible. Where did you learn to take such terrific pictures, and can you share a few tips and tricks?
Thank you so much. I do love taking pictures and sharing them on my blog! I’m definitely not an expert — I just play around and take a lot of different shots until I find one that I can be excited about. My advice is to choose a good background (I like solid black because it helps the colors pop), play with the lighting by turning different lights on or off or opening windows to let natural light in, and take the pictures from several different angles until you get one that you love!
2. You wrote an incredibly moving post about your father raising you alone from the time you were in elementary school. Tell us more about that and the man you respect so much.
To put it simply, my dad is my hero, my best friend. My mom passed away when I was in elementary school and he sacrificed everything to raise me on his own and make sure he was there for me every single day without exception. The amount of selflessness he showed me that one person can have… it’s inspired me my entire life. It taught me that always being kind and helping others is what truly matters in this world.
I wrote that post because I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that, through TpT, I was able to give back to my dad in a way I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. His roof collapsed during a heavy rainstorm and, despite being disabled and using a walker, he tried to carry all of my childhood belongings out of the house so they wouldn’t get ruined. That’s just one of countless examples of what kind of person he is. Because of TpT, I was able to save enough to have a completely new roof constructed on his house. I can’t even put into words how thankful I am for this amazing community for making that possible for me, and more importantly, for him.
3. Your blog Miss Giraffe’s Class is very popular. What’s your advice for teachers just starting on the blogging path?
Be yourself and have fun with it! Write about the things you’re passionate about — don’t write just to write. One of my biggest passions is taking a math concept and finding new and exciting ways for it to be hands-on, engaging, and differentiated in ways that make the content challenging (but fun and accessible) for EVERY student. I love to share ideas on HOW to teach those concepts in different, fun ways with lots of picture examples. My posts that show fun ways to teach math concepts like building number sense or fractions have been my most popular posts, and I think it’s because I truly care and am excited about those topics. Find what YOU’RE passionate about and write about that.
Also, don’t be afraid to be silly and use your voice. I’m a silly person who loves to talk and share so I think that comes out in my posts. Let your personality shine through and talk to your readers like they’re your friends… because really, they are! Be excited that you can collaborate and share your ideas with teachers all around the world, and just go for it.
4. What are your three favorite products and why?
Ooh that’s hard to choose! A lot of love goes into my products so they’re all special to me.
One of my absolute favorite products is the Phonics NO PREP Mega Bundle of my no-prep phonics packs. It’s my favorite because each pack within it focuses on a specific phonics sound. And all of the activities are fun, differentiated, and just need to be printed to be used. Plus, the activities are consistent in each pack so students can focus solely on practicing the new phonics skill rather than how to complete the activity, and no instructional time is wasted explaining how to do it. It’s one of the resources I get the most emails from teachers about how much it helped their kids, how much their kids light up when doing the activities, and how much time it has saved them — feedback like that means the world to me!
Another favorite is my Reading Fluency Puzzles. I absolutely love writing (I always wanted to be a children’s book author!) and I got a lot of great feedback on my reading fluency and comprehension passages but I kept thinking — how can I make these more fun? I also LOVE puzzles so I figured I’d put the two together! With these, reading is so much more engaging — students read each passage, then sequence the events to complete the puzzle. Each puzzle focuses on a specific phonics sound so it’s targeted phonics practice, fluency, comprehension, and sequencing practice all in what looks like a game.
A favorite FREE resource of mine is my NO PREP Writing Crafts. When reading other blogs, I always wonder how in the world they had not only the time in the day to do such cute crafts but to prep them ahead of time. So I created writing crafts that teachers can just print for a variety of genres, topics, holidays, and themes. They’re so quick and fun to make and are an instant bulletin board!
5. We loved getting to meet you at the recent Come Together, Go Further conference in Las Vegas! What would you tell a Teacher-Author deciding if they’re going to attend next year’s conference?
DO IT! There’s no way to put the amazing energy at the conference into words. To be surrounded by so many people who share your passion is just indescribable. To meet the amazing people behind the scenes at TpT who make this world-changing global exchange of ideas and resources possible is also incredible. The conference isn’t something you can read about later — it’s just something you have to experience for yourself. Everyone is so kind, welcoming, and willing to share everything they know with anyone who wants to listen. You will learn so much and meet so many great people! I left with so much fire and motivation to put into action the things that I learned. You will feel rejuvenated. You will feel inspired. You will feel like what you’re doing matters.
Thank you again, Miss Giraffe. What a pleasure it was getting to know you better. Keep up the incredible work!
We’re so impressed by the amazingly talented TpT Teacher-Authors on TpT — each and every one with their own unique story and a common passion for teaching and helping others!