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Getting to Know You [episode 1]


Click below to listen to episode 1, Getting to Know You:

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This week, we’re getting to know you as we invite you into our brand new co-hosted podcast, Teacher Approved! We are so excited to share this show with you and bring you a new episode every single week.

Morning Message: 

[1:35] What makes a good day at school?

We’re going to be starting our episodes with a question of the day just like we used to do in our morning meetings in our own classrooms!

Since we call them morning messages in the classroom, we figured we might as well call them that here too. This week’s morning message is, what makes a good day at school?

We think any day at school feels like a good day when we have been able to connect with our students and create a space that feels like a community. 

Connecting with our class can happen in all different ways. It might be having a really awesome morning meeting to start the day, doing a silly brain break together, or doing a read aloud to close the day together.

Another sure sign of a good day at school is when we could leave our classroom at the end of the day and feel excited to come back and do it all over again.

We would love to hear your thoughts on this question, and future questions, over on Instagram. You can find us @2ndstorywindow. We’re looking forward to getting to know you!

In this episode, we discuss:

  • A bit about us and our journey in education
  • How our name “Second Story Window” came about
  • The story of how we began selling resources on Teachers Pay Teachers
  • Why you should stop saving fun things for a special day

This week’s teacher approved tip:

[12:49] Stop saving for a special day!

So often as teachers, we find ourselves holding on to something special until just the right moment or just the perfect lesson. We all have cupboards and drawers full of “special” stuff, because you never know what you might need, right? Maybe it’s the glittery stickers, or the smelly pencils.

We don’t only do this in the classroom, but in our personal lives as well. If you’re anything like us, you could probably find something in your bathroom cabinets or hall closet that you have yet to use!

Well, we are encouraging you to stop saving things for a special day. Today is special enough!

What we’re giving extra credit to this week:

[14:47] Heidi is giving extra credit to the Peeknest app.

[16:27] Emily is giving extra credit to the show Abbott Elementary

Enter our giveaway!

Guess what? To celebrate the launch of Teacher Approved we’re doing a giveaway!

Three lucky winners will receive a $100 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers. To enter:

  1. Take a screenshot of your favorite launch episode: episode one, two or three.
  2. Add it to your Instagram stories and tag us @2ndstorywindow. 

BONUS ENTRY: Follow this show and write a review on Apple Podcasts. Before submitting, screenshot your review and send it to us in a DM so that we know who wrote the review. 

This giveaway ends April 4 2022.


Read the Transcript for Episode 1, Getting to Know You

You’re listening to episode one of Teacher Approved. Hey, there, we’re so excited you’re joining us today. This week, we’re inviting you into our brand new podcast: Teacher Approved. We’ll be discussing what makes a good day at school, sharing a little about ourselves, giving you a teacher approved tip and sharing what we’re giving extra credit to in our everyday lives.

To celebrate the launch of teacher approved we’re doing a giveaway. Three lucky winners will receive a $100 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.

To enter take a screenshot of your favorite launch episode, episode one, two or three, add it to your Instagram stories and tag us at @2ndstorywindow, that’s with a two. Bonus entry: follow this show and write a review, before submitting, screenshot your review and send it to us in a DM so that we know who wrote the review. Giveaway ends April 4, 2022.

We’re going to be starting our episodes with a question of the day just like we used to do in our morning meetings in our own classrooms. In the classroom since we call them warning messages, we figured we might as well call them that here. This week’s morning message is what makes a good day at school. So Emily, what do you think?

I feel like any day of school feels like a good day when I’ve been able to connect with my students. So that might be having a really awesome morning meeting to start the day, or doing a silly brain break together or doing a read aloud at the end of the day. That was a really connecting experience in my day. That always made it feel like okay, we had a good day today. What do you think makes a good day?

Oh, I definitely love those moments where you’re just like, you’re present with your kids. And you feel like you’re part of this amazing little community. But I really love the day, if I could leave and I was excited to come back again and do it all over.

We know that’s that’s a good sign if you really want to come back the next day.

So we would love to hear your thoughts on this question over on Instagram. You can find us at @2ndstorywindow. And that’s with a two.

So this week, we wanted to tell you a little bit more about us and our journey. So we grew up in northern Utah. We’re babies of the 80s. Heidi, why don’t you start telling us a little bit about you.

So I’m Heidi, I’m the big sister. And growing up I you know, when I was in high school, I was considering lots of different career paths. But when I started college, I knew elementary education was my calling. And so that’s what I got my degree in. And then a few years later, I got my master’s in education and a math endorsement. I started teaching second grade in 2001. And I was at a school with kind of a dysfunctional team. So I was kind of largely left to figure things out by myself, which made the first year really rough. And you know, I just lived and breathed teaching. I was the only one at the school. You know, I was there all weekend, you know how the first year goes, right? No life outside of school? Yes, definitely. And then at the end of that year, I switched schools so I could stay in second grade because I knew I didn’t have the energy to start over with a whole new grade level. And the new school had its own challenges, but it had an amazing administration. And that really made all the difference in my teaching experience. And yeah, that really does make such a difference. And I really felt like I had tools and support to be able to actually help my students. And that had just made such a difference in how I viewed my roles teacher and my ability to help my kids and how fulfilling your job was Oh, absolutely. And then, after a few years of teaching second grade, Emily got hired to teach second grade at a neighboring school.

And I was so lucky to learn that position. I wanted second grade so bad. I had just finished my degree in early childhood education at BYU. And I had to just take whatever position was offered to me. And I didn’t think there was really any chance I was going to get a second grade position. And so when I did, I was just on cloud nine. I remember that morning that they called me to tell me. And it was amazing to that it was so close to Heidi’s school, so we were really close by to each other. And honestly, I don’t know how I would have done that first year teaching especially without Heidi, because I also had a challenging team dynamics situation that first year, and I didn’t have a ton of support as a new teacher there. So Heidi really saved me and before school even started she’d helped me plan out the first few weeks of school like the whole day what we’re going to do, and I’d had centers prepped, like all the way through November before school started, I remember feeling like oh my gosh, I actually know what I’m going to be doing. I can I can do this. And we’re probably biased but we do think that second grade is for sure the absolute best grade of school, they’re just the perfect a magical, it really is. They love school, they love you. But they can do a lot on their own. They still believe in magic. It’s perfect, wonderful. So we would spend our summers just kind of bouncing back and forth between our classrooms. We’d go to like my classroom in the morning, and we go to Emily’s in the afternoon because she had better air conditioning wasn’t even air conditioned, was a swamp cooler. Oh, it was so loud, blew all the papers, but it was much cooler than a Heidi school.

So it was it was a lot of fun. Our mom would come and join us and we just make a whole day of it, you know, volunteering our time and our summers.

Yeah, yeah, working for free. And we tackled some really big curriculum projects together at that time, including the very first iterations of our second grade morning work, which might be what you know us for, and like our morning messages, those were all conceived in the summers planning ahead, trying to get the whole year prep together during those summers.

And we would have, you know, people come in to observe or be visiting in our schools. And they would ask for copies of the stuff that they saw that we were using in our classrooms.

I remember I had a team from another school, come observe me. And they saw the morning work. And we’re just like, where did you get this?

And people started telling us what you should sell this. And we thought, like, who would? Wow, yeah, I don’t even mean. So then Emily moved out of state and kind of wrecked our happy little situation, partnership, and I moved to a state that you had to have a master’s degree to teach in and so I wasn’t able to use my teaching degree. And so I was just trying to figure out what the heck to do with myself. And so that’s when 2nd Story Window was born. We, together that summer started up a little Etsy shop, and we needed to think of a name. So if you’ve ever wondered where the name 2nd Story Window comes from, let me tell you, it has nothing to do with second grade. It really doesn’t. We were sitting around I remember sitting together at Heidi’s computer, just spitballing names, we were looking up Nursery Rhymes and just kind of throwing out Little Miss Muffet, you know, like just phrases that we thought would maybe sound like a story. And so it’s a very niche reference. But this phrase, the 2nd Story Window, comes from an old camp song that’s called “Threw it Out the Window.” So we’re going to play a little clip of it here so you can know what we’re talking about.

Yeah, we definitely didn’t know at that time that we were going to pick a big part of our future, that that name would be such a big part of our lives going forward. We maybe could have been a little more intentional. Yes, we I mean, I have a fondness for it now. But we so frequently have to explain it. And it is a very long name. So that probably wouldn’t have been our first choice. But now we’re 2nd Story Window, and we’re proud of it. So we started selling on Etsy, we made a little Etsy store. And we started selling some of the phonics games that we had made one of the previous summers. And I offered them as a digital download, which was a very new thing on Etsy at the time. And I also used to mail printed and assembled copies of the games to buyers for like, so cheap. And I used to do boutiques and go random like marble table with peg boards and the whole thing. Yes. So it was a lot of work, do we not I do not recommend doing these hard copies of products yourself and mailing them with so much work. And really are we just sort of kind of stumbled along with that Etsy shop. And it was a very small side gig for both of us until 2012. So we’re actually coming up on our 10 year anniversary this month. I can’t believe it in 2012. In March, I finally just said to Heidi, I think I’m just going to sign up for Teachers Pay Teachers. And honestly, we had really, we didn’t know anyone in real life who either sold on TPT or purchase from TPT. We had no idea if it was really worth our while but we decided to pay that you know, $60 fee. That’s a risk Yes, to sign up with our shop. So we started, I put up a couple of phonics games, not very much happened for those couple of months. And then once the school was out for the year in 2012, I had made an update to the second grade morning work. And Emily just uploaded it into our TPT store. And I thought if we sold we sold a couple 100 copies of this, it would be amazing. It’d be I think at the time you were thinking like 100 If we could sell 100 I just be over like it was insane. And then I went and looked at my email recently and I found the email when I emailed you like we sold 100. And then it just took off from there we were the sales just started rolling in. And we didn’t know what we were doing. But we just kind of jumped in and learned as we went.

Absolutely. And once we realized that TPT was actually where teachers were searching for materials, not Etsy, we started uploading more of those resources that we’d created. And then I very quickly started working almost full time hours working on this business. And then I had a toddler at the time, and I was pregnant. And Heidi started one more year of teaching second grade,

I finished out the 2013 school year, and decided to try and take a leave of absence for a year to see if the business was feasible to support both of us. And my district wouldn’t grant the leave of absence. But my principal was like, if you want to come back, or worse, you can come back, which I appreciate it was a vote of confidence there. Yes. So it was a little safety net that I was really grateful for. And then, because I love teaching so much, I knew I couldn’t walk away from it totally, so I started teaching preschool four days a week. Once your teacher I was a teacher, yeah, for sure. So I would do preschool in the mornings, and Em would drive. Yeah, at the time, I had just moved back to Utah, but I was living an hour away. And so twice a week, I would drive an hour down early in the morning, to bring my three year old to the preschool. So what was she that was her first preschool experience ever. And I had the newborn with me. And I would try and help as much as I could sometimes the fussy baby did not cooperate with that idea. But and Heidi was doing it also on the other two days that I wasn’t there every week. And then after that first year, Heidi moved closer to me. And so we did the preschool together at her house going forward. And all of my kids attended our preschool, which has been so fun, especially because, you know, I didn’t get to know Emily’s oldest quite as well at first because they were out of state. So it was been great to have that part in their lives. And we did preschool together for several years.

And up until March of 2020. If you can imagine why. So we put a pin in our preschool plans, not really sure what we’re gonna do going forward, we still have all of our pre preschool pretty much set up in the basement where we are right now. It’s so much stuff, but you need a lot of stuff to teach people. So I really I loved after that first year of just of teaching preschool and running the business, I decided that that’s what I wanted to continue doing because I really loved the challenge of preschool and getting to be a part of that early education was so exciting. And so we’ve just been doing that going forward.

And we just really love creating resources that help make teachers lives better and easier. Because we know how challenging that job is and how all consuming it can feel at times. And anything we can do to help make it easier and help you feel like you’re the best teacher you can be, that’s what we’re passionate about. So now you know a little bit about us. So if you are new to our world welcome, and we’re so excited to get to know you.

Now let’s talk about this week’s teacher approved tip. Each week, we’re going to leave you with a teacher approved tip something small and manageable that you can apply in your classroom today. This week’s teacher approved tip is to stop saving for a special day. So Heidi, tell us more about this tip. So often as teachers, we find ourselves holding on to something special, until just the right moment, just the perfect lesson. I think you know what I’m talking about, right? We all have cupboards and drawers full of that stuff, because you never know what you might need. Right? So for example, I got some like, cool snazzy, like glittery stickers for my highlights magazine as like a thank you. And they were just really nice stickers. I don’t know what it was all the fancy, but they just felt so precious. And so it was like why can’t stick them on any assignment they need to have a special assignment to go on. And I still have the sticker.

I thought you’re gonna say that when you clean out your classroom, you’re like, I can’t believe I can. But no, you still know there’s third right there. And that next room?

Well, and the thing is, this definitely does not only apply to the classroom, we’ve all done this in our regular lives. I was just cleaning and organizing my bathroom cupboards and I came across these really fancy like eye gel patches that I use one time for a special event and then I was like I gotta save the rest of these. Yeah, for something special. They’re probably expired now. Use it because becomes worthless. Yes. But studies showed that like if you have something, then you’re like, Oh, well, this moment isn’t special enough to use it. That anytime you go to use it in the future, you will be weighing it against the specialness of the other times and so it’s never going to rise to that moment of being appropriately special. Because every time you decide not to use it, it gets bigger and bigger and bigger in your brain. It becomes more impossible to you use it cluttering your clutter in your mind. Yes so today’s special guest deserves whatever item you’ve been saving, use that special item.

To wrap up each show we’re going to tell you what we are loving and want to give extra credit to in our lives. So Heidi, what are you giving extra credit to this week?

Okay, this is probably going back to my special things that I’ve worded right but I’m getting give extra credit to an app called the Pekk Nest app. It’s P-E-E-K, like you take a peek at it. It’s a visual inventory app to track the things that you use and love. So you set up in the app, you can set up like a nest, say like your closet, or you know, your junk drawer or whatever. And then you can make little subcategories in that nest to help you find things. So I have a math games nest. And then within there, I have categories for like, addition, subtraction, and place value. So I can look and see exactly what I have, you know, you just take a photo and then it’s easy to upload. And then you can search if you need to search for something. It’s very handy. I’ve used it a lot for not just teaching stuff, but also like holiday decorations, because you like which bin is the you know Santa’s thing in. And when you can when you’re at the store, and you’re like do I already have all the time like, that is exactly why I started, I needed this app because I was buying doubles of things. It’s very handy because it’s all visual, I will say that it is a subscription app, which I don’t love having to pay to see my stuff. There are free alternatives, there are I have probably tried all of them in a quest to find the perfect one this comes closest. So to me, it is worth it. And knowing, you know, teachers out there where you’ve got all the bins in the boxes and things you need to keep track of, I think is could be a game changer for a lot of people to get organized. What about you, Emily?

Okay, so I’m giving extra credit to Abbott Elementary. It’s a new show on ABC. That’s about teachers in a public school in Philadelphia. It’s so good. It’s so good. And I think teachers especially will just appreciate this show so much, but it is funny to anyone. It is a very genuinely funny show. And the main character is a second grade teacher. So you know, we love that. And the show does a really good job of hitting on like the real experiences of being a teacher and they have like a really out of touch principal. So that’s really kind of fun and relatable for some of us. It really kind of accurately shows the demands of the public and the administration on these poor teachers. And also it’s just really relatable and funny.

Yeah, it’s just got I think as a teacher you pick up on so many layers. It’s like my stomach’s in knots, but I’m laughing. And then if that’s not good enough, Quinta Brunson, who stars in it, and is also one of the show, creators, yes. She knew the show was doing well so she approached the network and said, Hey, give me some of our marketing money, and buy school supplies for actual students, which I thought was incredible. Who does that? Yes, it makes me like the show even more. So good.

So that’s it for today’s episode. Remember to think about what makes a good day at school and try today’s teacher proof tip to stop saving things for a special day today a special enough. We can’t wait to hear what item you’re going to stop saving and finally enjoy.

More About Teacher Approved:

Do you ever feel like there’s just not enough time in the day to be the kind of teacher you really want to be? The Teacher Approved podcast is here to help you learn how to elevate what matters and simplify the rest. Join co-hosts Emily and Heidi of Second Story Window each week as they share research-based and teacher-approved strategies you can count on to make your teaching more efficient and effective than ever before. 

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