• Digital,  TpT Tips,  TpT Tutorial

    A Regular Person’s Guide to Creating a TpT “Brand,” Step 3: Create a Template for Product Covers

    Now that you’ve chosen a color palette and a font family, you’re ready to create a template for product covers. Creating product covers has been challenging for me. I feel more confident creating resources than I do with the packaging (I’m not a designer!). I used to start from scratch each time I designed a cover. Now, I use a simple template for most of my covers. It looks something like this: This template gives me space for a title, a subtitle, and an image. The two text boxes prevent me from squishing as many words as possible onto the cover. Here’s how some of the finished products look: How…

  • Emotional Intelligence--RULER

    Understanding Emotions, Social-Emotional Learning (RULER, part 2)

    Once we’ve recognized (noticed) our feelings, we can try to understand them. This can be more difficult then it sounds, especially at school. Classrooms are busy and emotional resources are stretched thin (1 teacher:26 kids). Understanding takes time and energy, and both can seem like limited resources at school. But there are things we can do to help ourselves and our students increase our capacity for understanding. Here are some tips: Ask Thoughtful Questions & Listen to the Answers Sometimes we need to talk through our feelings in order to understand them. When kids are overwhelmed by their feelings, they may need an adult to scaffold this conversation for them.…

  • Genre Study,  Reading Workshop

    How to Prepare & Conduct an Excellent Read Aloud

    I’m a great big fan of genre study, and genre study relies on genre immersion (reading the genre throughout workshop: read alouds, guided reading, independent reading, etc.). One of the best ways to expose students to a new genre is though daily read alouds. Teachers love sharing awesome picture books with students, but sometimes the the purpose of read alouds become muddy. Are read alouds meant to mini lessons? Are they like a whole group version of guided reading? Are they just for fun? The first step to planning an excellent read aloud is to remember what read alouds are for. What Are Read Alouds FOR? It’s useful to refer…

  • TpT Tips,  TpT Tutorial

    A Regular Person’s Guide to Creating a TpT “Brand,” Step 2: Choose a Font Family

    To reiterate, this short series is for non-graphic designers who simply want to make their TpT products attractive, recognizable and cohesive. I’m using “branding” very loosely (and somewhat skeptically) here. So, step 1 was to choose a color palette. Step 2 is to choose a font family… About Font When I began creating products for TpT I was lost when it came to font. I mistakenly thought that a bunch of random fonts thrown together on the page would make products look more exciting. Instead, it just made them look busy. I’ve seen lots of people on TpT and Instagram who use cute (purchased and downloaded) fonts really well. These…

  • Emotional Intelligence--RULER,  TeachersPayTeachers

    Recognizing Emotions & Using the Mood Meter for Social Emotional Learning (RULER, part 1)

    The RULER method for social emotional learning begins with recognizing emotions. Recognizing emotions simply means noticing the emotional territory we’re in. It doesn’t require us to name the emotion (that comes later), just notice. How Will Recognizing Emotions Help My Students? Recognition is the first step toward healthy expression and regulation. Ignored emotions become exaggerated, painful, and uncontrollable. Noticing a feeling, especially a negative one, can alleviate some of our emotional distress. When students notice they’re feeling a strong emotion they can: Reflect on what they need from themselves or others. Communicate their feelings. Ask for help if they need it. How Can I Help My Students Recognize their Emotions?…

  • Free Download,  Genre Study,  Reading Workshop

    A Versatile Template for Read Alouds (Free Download)

    One of my favorite things about reading workshop is finding and sharing picture books with students. Shared readings generate discussions (academic and personal) that are relevant to your kiddos . While ‘meeting student needs’ is one of the great benefits of shared readings, it’s also one of the great challenges. Suiting a favorite read aloud to this particular class year after year can be time consuming. When I was creating my series of genre units, I wanted to include discussion guides for shared readings that would be versatile enough to fit a range of needs, but specific enough to make them low-prep for teachers. I ended up a creating a…

  • TeachersPayTeachers,  TpT Tips,  TpT Tutorial

    A Regular Person’s Guide to Creating a TpT “Brand,” Step 1: Choose a Color Palette & Import it to Keynote

    Do you hate the word “brand” as applied to yourself? Are you already cringing? Yeah, yeah, yeah, me too. But when I say “brand” I’m not talking about staging a fabricated life so you can get more instagram followers, likes, re-shares or whatever. I simply mean taking a few simple steps to make your TpT products attractive, recognizable, and cohesive. The first step is to choose a color palette. This will make designing a logo, product covers and blog posts simpler. If there is a set of colors you already like to use, then great–you’re almost done! But if you don’t have an eye for color (I don’t), here are…

  • Emotional Intelligence--RULER,  TeachersPayTeachers

    RULER: An Acronym for Social Emotional Learning + TpT Sale

    If you want to spend less time putting out behavioral fires in your classroom, look to social-emotional learning. Outbursts, shutdowns, and fights occur when students don’t have tools for helpful (and appropriate) emotional expression. I recently read Marc Brackett’s Permission to Feel and was inspired to create classroom resources for his RULER acronym. In his book, Brackett points out what most of us already know–school is an emotionally fraught place for students and teachers, and we could all use some help. Today I’m so excited to release my newest TpT product–social emotional activities to fit each letter in the RULER acronym. It’s on sale until Friday, so be sure to…

  • Genre Study,  Reading Workshop,  Spiral Review

    Genre Study = Automatic Spiral Review

    I don’t know about you, but I feel overwhelmed by the phrase “spiral review.” Sure, you want to give students opportunities for meaningful review, but “spiral review” brings to mind convoluted spreadsheets. You chart out a complicated course only to find yourself constantly treading water. But there’s good news, if you’re a reading workshop teacher (especially if you use genre study), you can engage in meaningful review without the spreadsheets. All reading instruction falls into a few broad categories. In genre study, each genre unit addresses these broad categories and fills in the details according to the genre you’re currently studying. Here’s an example: Instead of having a “text structure”…

  • Summer,  Time Management

    A Summer To-Do List That Honors Meaning Over Accomplishment

    I love a good to-do list. Checking that box is satisfying, but sometimes the journey there is arduous and the result is…not worthwhile. A rigid to-do list quickly becomes arbitrary, something you complete because you said you would, not because it furthers your goals. Have you ever stared at the blank page (or newly-drawn bullet journal template) and packed it full just for the heck of it? Sometimes the unexamined thought going through my head is “What’s the absolute most I can accomplish next week?” rather than, “How can I pursue my most meaningful goals and simultaneously honor my values?” For teachers, the summer is a combination of much-needed respite…