Friday, May 31, 2019

Planning a Month of Blog Topics

I used to just write a blog entry whenever the mood struck me. It was great in terms of writing because I'd be all amped up and excited about a topic and the words would just flow. It was when I had a free moment to myself and since I have the Blogger app on my phone, that means I can write even on the go. But the negatives outweighed the benefits - I was inconsistent with posts and sometimes I totally neglected my blog for months on end.

Ever since I started scheduling my posts, I've been a lot more active. Each week, I have a set theme or area to write about, and I come up with a topic related to that theme. I give myself deadlines and make sure I meet them.


The organizer above is the one I designed to use to plan my month of weekly posts. This is a hard copy in a plastic sleeve, but I like to keep as much digital as possible, so I work out of a Google Sheets file for the month. I'll be polishing up the organizer I use and making it available in a generic form for everyone soon, so be on the lookout for it in my store!

How do you stay productive with your blog? Do you set aside specific time to write each day/week/month? Do you know what you're going to write about, or do you wait to get inspired? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Recommendation: Podcast "Teach Me to Talk" by Laura Mize

Aside from being a teacher, I am a parent of two little boys. I have mentioned them here and there, but I don't talk a lot about their educational development. Until now.

My toddler is going to be 3 in August and he has a speech delay. He babbled as a baby and said his first words, but when it comes to developing a strong vocabulary or putting more than a couple of words together, he hasn't quite gotten there yet. He makes noises when he plays with trucks, can imitate lots of animal sounds, and can fill in words in books or songs we read or sing together. But I noticed something was missing and contacted my local Early Intervention program. They have been absolutely wonderful and he has been receiving speech therapy for almost two months now.

But while I was in the midst of the process of getting him therapy, I sought out information anywhere I could and the first thing I did was what I think many people do... I Googled it.

When I Googled "helping with a speech delay in toddlers", I found SO many resources. (A quick Google search just now brought up "about 32,700,000" results.) So how would I know if a resource was valid, research-based, and credible? How was I going to weed out the advertisements to just buy something? When would I know that I found something that was actually going to help my son?

Luckily, it didn't take long for me to come across Laura Mize, a pediatric speech-language pathologist who had a podcast. I started listening and I was quickly hooked. So many of her stories sounded like my son. He had great receptive language skills, but lacked many expressive skills needed. I signed up for her email list, too, and have been applying a lot of her tips and strategies to my daily interactions with my son. She has been unknowingly helping us on our journey and between what I've learned from her and his speech therapist, my son has been making great strides! We hope to see it continue!

I am in no way affiliated with Laura Mize and I do not have a background in speech-language pathology, but I am just speaking as a parent here... I highly recommend Laura's resources if you are struggling with a child with a speech delay!

And, Laura, if you're reading this... Thank you! You've helped me a great deal!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Math Graphic Organizers

Do you use graphic organizers in all areas of your curriculum? I know we often utilize them in reading and writing lessons, but they are fabulous tools for any subject. They even work great in math activities!

A sequencing organizer can be used to plan out the steps of a multi-step problem. It's amazing how separate boxes for each step can help keep a student organized when they need it!

A modified KWL organizer can be used to break down a word problem. What information do we know? What information are they asking us to find? And after we've solved it, what information did we learn?

A vocabulary square can be used to define a math term and show an example of the word. (I love this for geometry units, especially!)

Even though I know many teachers have used a lot of my graphic organizers in their math lessons, I have recently been adding specific math organizers to my store. So far, I have a pack of math problems organizers, a part-part-whole organizer set, and a resource that deals specifically with key words in word problems.


The math problems organizer pack includes eight different organizers that work great with word problems or problems that may be solved with a few different strategies.


The part-part-whole organizer set includes five worksheets that I suggest laminating or using in a plastic sleeve for students to use again and again when solving addition or subtraction problems.


The clue words organizer makes a great addition to any student's math notebook and becomes a handy reference when reading word problems and trying to decide which operation is needed to solve the given problem.


I have a few more organizer packs just for math in the works that should be available this month (including the vocabulary square above), so be sure to check out my most recent resources or follow my store to stay up-to-date with what is available.

Happy Teaching!
Katrina

Friday, May 10, 2019

Day 5 of Freebies!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!


In honor of the teachers who do so much for so many students around the world, I am releasing a new freebie in my store every day this week! 

Today's freebie is a printable thank you card template. Use these to jot down a quick thank you to a student, parent, or colleague to show your appreciation. It is recommended that you print these on colored cardstock to avoid show-through.


Go ahead and visit my store and download it today! I hope you enjoyed the week of freebies! Be sure to follow me to stay up-to-date on my latest products and freebies.

Happy Teaching!
Katrina

A Letter to the New Class

I have been slowly returning to the classroom after being home with my boys for several months. It's an interesting experience walking into school at the end of the year when a lot of students have checked out and want to be out enjoying the weather instead of inside learning.

I know some teachers struggle to find activities to keep their students interested and motivated. If you are looking for a great activity for the end of the year that will encourage your students to write and reflect upon their school year, I have just the thing for you!


Invite your students to write a letter to next year's students! They can ponder the ups and downs of their school year, think about what was fun and what they learned, and give the next students some idea of what is coming in their next school year. You can save the letters until the new school year and distribute them to your new class or let your students send them to the younger students now.

If you do this activity with your class, I'd love to see how some of the letters turn out! Share them with me on Instagram @KatrinasResources!

Happy Teaching!
Katrina

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Day 4 of Freebies!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!


In honor of the teachers who do so much for so many students around the world, I am releasing a new freebie in my store every day this week! 

Today's freebie is a homework swap coupon. Award your students with the ability to swap out a homework assignment for a different activity of their choice. The choices on this coupon include: Read for 20 minutes, Play math games for 20 minutes, or Write 1 page about any topic.

These coupons help demonstrate that homework and practicing academic skills outside of school is a valuable activity, but allows your students the freedom of choice. Use as a reward for winning a contest, reaching a goal, or doing a good deed in class.


Go ahead and visit my store and download it today! Be sure to come back tomorrow to grab the next freebie!

Happy Teaching!
Katrina

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Day 3 of Freebies!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!


In honor of the teachers who do so much for so many students around the world, I am releasing a new freebie in my store every day this week! 

Today's freebie is a printable for a note home recognizing positive behavior at school. Fill it out with a student's name, behavior, and quick explanation of what they did. Your students will be beaming with pride to take one of these home and parents will be happy to read about their children's good work!

Print these black & white pages on bright colored paper for some extra pizzazz!


Go ahead and visit my store and download it today! Be sure to come back tomorrow to grab the next freebie!

Happy Teaching!
Katrina

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Day 2 of Freebies!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!


In honor of the teachers who do so much for so many students around the world, I am releasing a new freebie in my store every day this week! 

Today's freebie is a printable for a quick note home. Use it to share a tidbit about something that happened in class, express pride in an awesome thing your student did, or let a parent know about an upcoming event.


Go ahead and visit my store and download it today! Be sure to come back tomorrow to grab the next freebie!

Happy Teaching!
Katrina

Monday, May 6, 2019

Types of Sentences

Depending upon the purpose of the sentence, there are four types with different names and varied punctuation marks you may use.

Declarative

"Telling sentences"
Make a statement or express an opinion.
End in a period (.)
Example: The dog is playing outside.

Imperative

"Commanding sentences"
Give a command.
End in a period (.)
Example: Brush your teeth before you go to bed.

Interrogative

"Asking sentences"
Ask a question.
End in a question mark (?)
Example: What is your sister's name?

Exclamatory

"Feeling sentences"
Express strong emotion or feelings.
End in an exclamation point (!)
Example: I can't believe it!

Are you teaching Types of Sentences in your classroom? 

Check out the resource below to add to your teaching!





Day 1 of Freebies!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!


In honor of the teachers who do so much for so many students around the world, I am releasing a new freebie in my store every day this week! 

Today's freebie is a versatile exit ticket you can use to find out what your students wish you knew.


Go ahead and visit my store and download it today! Be sure to come back tomorrow to grab the next freebie!

Happy Teaching!
Katrina

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Teacher Appreciation Week

Starting tomorrow, Teacher Appreciation Week is upon us. How do you plan to say thank you to the teachers in your life?

We all know that it's the thought that counts, but if you need a gift idea for the special teacher in your life, the following are some of my own Top 5 personal favorites...

  1. A gift card for a cup of coffee (Around here, Tim Horton's is most people's drink of choice, but Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are popular, too!)
  2. Pens, pens, and more pens! (My favorites are Paper Mate InkJoy with clicky tops, but I know Paper Mate Flairs, Pilot G2s, and Sharpies are on the top of a lot of teachers' lists!)
  3. Sticky notes (With so many varieties, sizes, and shapes, a teacher can never have enough sticky notes!)
  4. Candy (Together with coffee, I feel like chocolate keeps a lot of us teachers fueled throughout busy days! Plus, if our lunch breaks get cut short with answering emails or answering a phone call, we can snack on some candy quicker than eating a full meal.)
  5. Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card (So many educators around the world use this fabulous website to find quality, teacher-created resources for their students. Help the cause and support teachers in the process! It's a win-win-win!)

Teachers, what items would be in your Top 5? Feel free to leave a comment below!

Monday, April 15, 2019

Easter Activities

Easter is fast approaching (even though it seems like it's taking forever this year since it's so late!). If you're not one of the schools that is already on spring break, you may be looking for some activities with an Easter theme to do with your students this week. Check out some of the Easter products I have in my store today!

40 Writing Prompts Strips

Although these are not Easter-themed writing prompts, they are written on strips so you can easily cut, fold, and put them in plastic Easter eggs (which are 0.99¢ for three dozen in stores right now!). Hide them around the classroom for a fun Easter egg hunt that ends in your students writing or put them in a basket on your desk to switch up the way your students find inspiration to write. 

Happy Easter Word Creator Challenge

Want a quick literacy activity or maybe an independent reading center? This ready-to-print activity has your students creating words based on the letters in "Happy Easter."

Friendly Letter to the Easter Bunny Template

Use this ready-to-print template to have your students write a friendly letter to the Easter Bunny. It gives them practice writing and is a festive activity to get them excited about what might be in their Easter basket this year. There are a few different versions with different sizes of lines so you have options based on your students' levels.

Easter Egg Pattern Activity

Switching gears to early math skills, this activity focuses on patterns of Easter egg designs. I recommend printing in full color and laminating for product longevity. It makes a great center for a small group or something fun to do during indoor recess (if your weather is anything like ours here in Western New York right now, you don't have much of a chance to get outdoors!).

This Little Bunny - Classroom Guessing Game Book

This was one of my favorite things I came up with during a first grade placement I had during college. It's an activity that requires students to describe themselves using "can", "has", and "is" statements. They fill in the front of their page, color in the bunny, and then reveal themselves on the back with either a photograph or a self portrait and their names. You bind the pages together and read it as a class, pausing to guess which student is described on each page. It was a fun keepsake class book after the writing activity was over and it worked really well with my first graders. (I also have other seasonal templates in my store with the same format.)

Monday, March 18, 2019

Cotton Ball Races


Looking for a quick and fun activity to do with your kiddos at home? Grab a couple of cotton balls and give each player a straw and get ready for a race! 

Use the straw to blow the cotton ball further and further down the "track" until you reach the finish line. Create a racetrack on the carpet, marking the start and finish with yarn or some masking tape. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Task Organization

Do you love making lists and checking off items?

Do you strive to become more organized, but need a simple tool to help get started?

Do you like to keep track of weekly, monthly, and daily tasks you need to complete?

I personally love making to-do lists. Writing down everything I want to accomplish in a given time frame really boosts my productivity and makes me feel proud when I've completed everything. I started using uniform lists (like the one below) to keep myself on track and thought others may benefit from them, too!


There is space to write the dates, three weekly reminders, daily tasks that can be monitored all seven days of the week, and even a monthly check-in for big projects that you have in the works. I have found my productivity increase since I started making this a part of my weekly routine.

Want to check out this Daily Task Organizer? Visit my store today. And if you're interested in other resources to keep your life in order, be sure to check out the Organization Tools I have available now. I'm constantly adding new things, so check back often for more.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Gift Card Giveaway!


Just in time for the Teachers Pay Teachers sitewide sale, I have a gift card giveaway happening now!

To enter, click here and complete the entry form for a chance to win!

The winner will be notified by 5:00 PM EST on Tuesday, February 26, 2019 via the email address provided in the form.

Good luck!!

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale!

Mark your calendars!


There is a site-wide sale on Teachers Pay Teachers coming up this Tuesday and Wednesday, February 26th and 27th! I will have everything in my store marked down, even my bundles!

Use promo code TICKTOCK to save up to 25% off your favorite products.

So ready those wish lists and check your budgets... It's a great time to figure out which products you can't live without this spring!

Happy Shopping!

Friday, February 15, 2019

Lack of Motivational Moments

If there's one thing that frustrates me more than anything else it's how inconvenient my motivation is.

I am currently "free" to do whatever I want. I'm home with both boys, but they're both napping. And I have absolutely zero motivation or inspiration to do anything productive.

When will I have the motivation, you wonder? 

More than likely, when Cam wants a snack or Tucker needs to be rocked to sleep... Maybe after Nick falls asleep and I'm lying there, wide awake, unable to turn my brain off... When I'm in the midst of cooking dinner... In the seven minutes I spend in the shower when my brain is most active... Maybe when I'm driving and my mind wanders after passing the same houses and landmarks that cause me to turn to autopilot... 

But when I'm absolutely free to do whatever I want? When I'm caught up with housework and my boys are asleep and Nick is at work? Nope. I don't have the desire to do a thing. And it frustrates me to no end!

At least I can vent through my words and hopefully spark some inspiration to accomplish something by doing some writing... We'll see!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Digital Lists

So if you know me, you know that I am extremely tech-savvy and quick to use digital resources in and out of the classroom. But I have to admit that I have a dirty little secret... I love neatly-organized, color-coded, three-ring binders... full of ACTUAL PAPER.

Oh, the horror!

I truly am embarrassed to admit that even though I am fully capable of utilizing most of my resources and materials digitally, there is nothing like a hard copy of a reference!

But one of my absolute favorite things throughout my life has been making lists on paper. To-Do lists, shopping lists, Christmas lists, lists of goals I want to accomplish by the end of the month, lists of homework assignments I have to complete, lists of reasons why I was annoyed at my little brother (I was a very dramatic child haha). If there was a way I could use a narrow notepad and one of my favorite writing utensils, I'd find a way!

So the fact that my list-building has gone digital lately is a big, BIG deal.

If you're like me and you get the satisfaction of making a list and crossing out each item, but you're also trying to get with the 21st century digital age, then I have two tools you might love to try out!


Alexa

We have Echo Dots all over our home. They're SO convenient for turning our lights on and off, listening to our favorite tunes, getting the weather report, learning answers to random questions we have, and so much more... But one of my absolute favorite features is the ability to create lists. We have a shopping list that's always current, to-do lists, gift ideas for family members' birthdays or Christmas, lists for specific stores, etc. If we're out and about, we no longer have to stress about leaving our shopping list at home because it's always accessible through our Alexa App and we know if we needed something, we just told Alexa about it at home.


Google Tasks

I love all things Google (almost as much as I love all things Amazon... seriously, they are almost tied), so it's no surprise that I utilize as many tools and features in my Google apps waffle that I can. Google Tasks gets my to-do list organized in ways nothing else has been able to do before. I can create specific lists, add details and reminders, and check everything off when I'm done. It's as close to the satisfaction of crossing off a real to-do list as you can get!

How do you like to keep yourself organized in this digital age? Go ahead and shoot me a message or comment below!


Sunday, January 6, 2019

Oh How I Love to Teach the Parts of Speech

Parts of speech are one of my favorite things to teach.

It might seem mundane to most people, but it reminds me of when I was younger and learning about nouns, verbs, adjectives, etc. I had a very organized notebook with information about each part of speech in individual sections with very neat headings and labels. I've always been a big fan of rules and organized notes, so I guess teaching parts of speech just takes me to that very organized place (you know, before I knew the truth about the English language and how it doesn't really always follow its own rules... ha ha!).

I have just begun a new product line of task cards. I've always used them in the classroom, but I always created them on the fly for whatever lesson I was doing at the time. In short, they've never been "up to snuff" for what I'd consider publishing. I've decided to change that. I've been revisiting the sets I've created for my own students and have begun revamping each set. Although I started with a counting coins set, I have become pretty well immersed in ELA in the past couple of days. I've even posted a set of common nouns task cards just this evening!

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm hoping to get at least one pack of task cards for each part of speech finished and posted. (When I mention it to more than just myself and my to-do list, I think it ends up getting done faster!) So hold me to it!

I hope you have a wonderful Monday tomorrow!

Happy Teaching,
Katrina

P.S. Interested in those task card sets I talked about? Check them out on my Task Cards page or click on the images below!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Is There Anything Better?

I have spent the afternoon watching Life Itself on Prime Video and snuggling with this adorable baby boy. We’re both still dealing with a pesky cold and relaxing while big brother Cam is napping has been just what the doctor ordered!

Sometimes when I’m relaxing, I feel like a total bum and my mind races with all of the things I know I could be doing instead... I could wash the dishes in the sink, tackle the basket of laundry in the basement, or finish the set of task cards I’m in the middle of designing... But today, I’ve just been enjoying my time with Tucker. And I can’t think of anything better or any place I’d rather be right now.

How awesome is that feeling?

I hope your Friday is just as lovely!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

A Thursday in Monday’s Clothing

You’ve heard of a wolf in sheep’s clothing... Today is a Thursday in Monday’s clothing!

My hubby went back to work after being off for the holidays, so waking up with the boys this morning and getting back into our routine makes today feel like a total Monday. But really, we only have two days until it’s the weekend again... Woo hoo!

If you’ve already returned to school, I hope your new year is back to a fabulous start! If you’re enjoying the last few days of your break, I hope you’re relaxing and don’t have too much prep to do before you head back!

As for me, I’m just trying to stick with my big January goal of creating resources. Be on the lookout for some updated graphic organizers and new packs of task cards in the coming weeks!

Happy Teaching,
Katrina

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year!

It's 2019! I hope everyone reading this is having a wonderful start to this new year. 

Even though I know I'm not a different person than I was yesterday, I always feel a sense of optimism at the start of each year. It's actually one of my favorite things about being a teacher, too, because I have the same "new year" feeling every fall when school starts. A new year can be a fresh start, a new beginning, and a time to reflect on what you're doing and what you'd like to change.

For me, I'm looking on buckling down on creating a schedule for myself while I'm still home with Cam and Tuck. I have until April before I'm planning on returning to the classroom, so I'd love to use my time wisely. I know most of my days are not exactly "plannable" because I never know exactly when Tucker will need to nurse or Cameron will want a snack (my God, the snacks a toddler wants!), but I can definitely set daily, weekly, and monthly goals for myself to accomplish. Sometimes I feel like I have so many different things I could be working on (creating products, making pins, recording for my Instagram story, listening to Podcasts, etc) that I end up overwhelmed and just bounce around from site to site without actually getting anything done. It's a great way to waste the little free time I have to myself!

The past month or so, I've really thought about what I need to do to be productive and "work smart." One of my biggest issues used to be needing to dig my laptop out every time I wanted to use it and finding a place to work on it without Cam trying to "help" with my mouse or grab my books or papers. A place where I wouldn't get distracted by the babies or the television or household chores. (Trust me, there's nothing worse than seeing a basket of laundry that needs to be folded and choosing to do that instead of getting work done.) 

So, when I identified that problem, I decided to solve it... I've set up a nice little work space at my kitchen table so I can hop on my Chromebook whenever I have a free minute and be productive (those five-minute work sessions add up!). I also have a designated spot in the spare room upstairs where I can start to get work done on my desktop in silence when Nick is home or the boys are napping. I'm working on getting another table up there for photographing resources and organizing the tools I need to be creative. 

It might not sound like much, but it's the "preheating" process in my recipe for success... Now I just have to work on getting all the ingredients working together!

My next step is writing out my goals so I can hang them on my fridge. That way, I'll see them every day whether I'm looking for them or not. I think just reading them daily will help me work toward achieving them! I made myself an organizer to keep track of my monthly and weekly goals. If you'd like to check it out and download it for free, click here or on the picture below.


As always, happy teaching!
Katrina

P.S. Speaking of preheating and ingredients (hmm, maybe I shouldn't have skipped lunch today), did anybody else get an Instant Pot or Air Fryer for Christmas? I received both from my awesome hubby and I legitimately have not turned on my stove or oven since. I'm having such a great time trying new recipes and cooking things quicker!