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 29, 2019

25 Summer Tips for TpT Sellers

Summer… A time to relax, go to the beach, read whatever you want, sleep in, and… Oh wait, scratch that. You’re a teacher-author on Teachers Pay Teachers. You may be out of the classroom for a little while, but you’re not off the hook completely.

While summer is a slower time for many stores, it’s no time to neglect your store. In fact, you have a fantastic opportunity to plan for the next school year, create some quality new products, update some outdated resources, and develop your marketing plan.

Not quite sure what you should concentrate on? Feeling overwhelmed with the idea of a couple of unstructured months and unsure of where to start? Here are 25 ideas in no particular order that you can choose to put on your to-do list or not.


  1. Design new products
  2. Get your product ideas organized and pick products you know you want to finish over the summer
  3. Consider developing product lines based on your best sellers
  4. Redesign outdated product covers
  5. Rewrite outdated product descriptions
  6. Create previews for products that don’t have them
  7. Take authentic photos of your products for covers, pins, previews, blog posts, etc.
  8. If you use Pinterest, design new pins for products and new boards to expand your profile
  9. Take a course and learn something new to develop a new area of your business
  10. Start pinning Back to School products
  11. Update outdated products
  12. Take stock of your clipart collection and brainstorm new products you can create with it
  13. Watch YouTube videos for an area of your store you want to improve upon
  14. If you have a blog, write new blog posts (especially for topics you have products for, but not blog entries about… and if they’re seasonal posts, backdate them to the correct season of the previous year)
  15. Browse Pinterest and pin others’ great resources to your boards
  16. Listen to a new podcast (or check out the ones you already subscribe to, but haven’t tuned into for a while)
  17. Join a Facebook Group and find other teacher-authors in your niche
  18. Work on your budget for next year
  19. Create a vision board for your business goals
  20. Get your workspace organized
  21. Add products to your wishlist so you’re ready for the next site-wide sale (great for non-urgent clipart and fonts)
  22. Stay up-to-date with the standards and curriculum you design for
  23. If you have a business Instagram, keep posting during the summer - your followers will love continuing to get to know you!
  24. If you’re still in the classroom and created things during the school year for your classroom or students, make it “store ready” and post it for sale
  25. Plan for giveaways to promote your store for site-wide sales

Even though I totally advocate devoting a chunk of your summer to productivity, I also have to say that while you’re focusing on your business, find time for self-care and don’t get stressed out about low sales or minimal traffic throughout the summer. (This goes double if you teach in the classroom during the rest of the year!)

I have been selling on TpT since 2012 and sometimes I get discouraged during the slower months, but I find that keeping busy and focused helps forget about the lower sales! And trust me, my sales always come back in August and have always improved from year to year. If you keep at it and set your sights on your goals, I’m sure you will also see some amazing results!

Best of luck! Enjoy your summer!

And if you have other tips for other TpTers, be sure to post them in the comments! I have found that the more teacher authors I get to know, the more we can share our tips for success.

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!