Thursday, July 30, 2015

How to Make a Quote-Banner Image in a TPT Store

How to Make a Quote-Banner Image in a TPT Store?  I’ll show you how, step-by-tiny-step.

Here's my first little masterpiece--it ONLY took 2 hours.   Here's how it looks in my TPT Store.  I hope my instructions help you go faster:

Revised and improved on 10-18-15; now it only takes me 15 minutes--sweet!

Create a banner in Powerpoint:

1)      Powerpoint/ landscape/ w = 2.95” h= 1.38”

2)      Background color to blend with TpT quote section: background fill/ more colors/ custom color/ color model RGB/ 241, 241, 241 (or: f1,f1,f1)

3)      Design your banner.  I used a product cover, some word art and clip art.

4)      Print Screen (Hold CTRL/Print Screen)

5)      Open Paint/ Paste the image/ Crop it to the exact shape/ Home/ Resize/ Maintain Aspect Ratio (ie, retain proportions)

6)      Resize to approx. 450w X 210h PIXELS

7)      File/ Save as/ [Name]/ jpg

1)      Open an account if necessary (it’s free)

2)      Upload/ Browse/ Select the jpg image that is approx. 450 X 210 pixels/ Open

3)      Left click on the image in photobucket

4)      Click to add title/ [Add a title]/ Check the blue check box

5)      Share links/ [Click on:] Direct/ Copy the URL
6)      You now have a "Direct Link" to your jpg

*  UPDATE: Photobucket is no longer free to use.  Imgur is a free photo storage site.  

*  Here is an alternative:  Create the jpg as shown above.  Insert it into a blogger blog post.  Then...

1)   Go to your blog

2)   Right-click on an image (from the blog page, not in edit mode)

3)   Left click on: Copy Image Location

4)   Paste the URL text where needed (continue the steps below)

NOTE: To insert a picture at the TpT forum:  [img]insert the image URL[/img]
Go to

1)      No need to open an account

2)      Just click on: BIT LINK (to shorten a URL)

3)      Paste the link from Photobucket, Imgur, or your Blog

4)      Copy the new shortened link and paste it into a word document

If you want your quote-banner image to link to a particular product page at your TPT Store:

1)      Go to your TPT store product page

2)      Copy the URL address for your TPT product (the http…, link at the top of the web page)

3)      Paste the Tpt product URL into copy the shortened URL/ Paste it into your word doc

In a Word Document

1)      Copy this html into a word document:

2)      <a href=""><img src=""</a>

3)      NOTE:  the first http is from my TPT store product page.  The second http is from my quote-banner image from photobucket [or from my blog image URL]. 

4)      YOU MUST: Replace my http’s (The Blue Writing as shown above; i.e., all the writing within the quotation marks) with your own.

5)      IMPORTANT: don't leave ANY spaces--especially check before and after your quotation marks!

6)      This is your prepared URL that you will paste into your TPT store quote section.

Go to your teacherspayteachers store

1)      My account/ Store profile/ Edit (at the bottom of the page) / Personal quote/ Paste the Prepared URL for your image and link to a product/ Save

You’re done!  Check your TPT store.  If the quote area image is too big or small, you may have to repeat steps, and change the pixels.  Don’t feel bad—I had to do this 5 times—yes 5!!!

I’m so glad I did it.  Learning new tech = creating new brain cells.  Who doesn’t love that? 

Thanks to Teacher's Resource Force for their template and ideas on quote images.

Oh, and a big shout out to
Paula Kim from TPT, for the beautiful gold arrows on my banner picture.  Paula’s clip art is arrestingly gorgeous!  Right?  

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

How to Teach School Rules Painlessly

Teaching school rules is easy if you follow the...“rules.”

teach rules painlessly - teacherink.blogspot

First, ask the kids what rules they know.  Get them involved.  Then… 

  • Choose one rule to explore. 
  • Explain the rule—be clear and detailed. 
  • Again, students can add their thoughts. 
  • Demo it, or have one kid demo it, then have 2 kids demo, then 3 or more, and finally the whole class. 
  • Re-explain and practice till it’s perfect. 
  • It may take a few sessions to reach that goal.
Also, discuss why the rule is important.  No, it’s not to avoid punishment.  The real reason is because it helps us to be respectful or to stay safe, or to learn something new and interesting. 

So…what bad things might happen if we don’t follow the rule?   Delve into the issues, so kids internalize the rule.  That’s how it becomes embedded in their conscience—your only true hope for good behavior.

Also, think of everything that could go wrong.  You have to address every possibility, and discuss the limits of what’s acceptable.  No, they can’t do this or that.

It really helps to have a checklist so you don’t forget crucial points.  You don’t want any loopholes or misunderstandings.

Even though I’ve taught rules for years, I still use my own school rules checklists and points for discussion.   

I also created a script for what a teacher might say, starting the moment the kids walk into the classroom on the first day of school.  Even when I don't use it verbatim, it makes me feel CALM and CONFIDENT knowing it’s all there.  As they say, act the part till you become the part.

Teaching rules is a fascinating process, and it’s a must—and it’s ongoing, to some degree, every time you teach.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Balance Your Life with the Bagua

It’s summer.  For a teacher, summer means renewal and balance. 

Balance Your Life with the Bagua
Here are 8 ways to balance your life with the bagua.

I’m not reinventing the wheel.  I’m giving you the bagua—the ancient Chinese octagon.  Summer, in the bagua, represents the south, and heaven.  Oh, yes!   

The 8-sided bagua can be used to map 8 areas of your life.  If one area is in deficit, it needs attention to balance your spirit—and what better time than summer? 

1)      Health and balance – Take inventory of your health and habits.

2)      Wealth and abundance – Review your finances and choices for investing in your future.

3)      Fame and future – Be seen and appreciated for who you really are.

4)      Love and relationships – Reboot your “honeymoon,” or look for love in the right places.

5)      Creativity and children – Give generously to the next generation.

6)      Compassion and Travel – Think about other people and places.

7)      Self and Work – Manifest your unique gifts.

8)      Knowledge and Harmony – Find out something new and important.

Does one of these areas need attention?  Here’s a great way to remind yourself to pay attention.  It’s borrowed from the Chinese tradition of Feng Shui, which refers to the flow of energy through space.

Look at your favorite room.   Overlay the 8-sided bagua onto its floor plan, with fame in the south.  In the area you wish to focus, place an object you love.  Your object can be anything: a seashell, a jewel, a photo, flower or statue.  Whenever you see your object, let it remind you to “Go deeper here!”

I hope you’re in the middle of a wonderful summer!  And I hope you’ll emerge renewed, refreshed, and a bit more balanced.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Differentiation in the Classroom

Differentiation is all the rage in education.  First we’ll talk about it, and then we’ll laugh.  Ready?

This is differentiation: it’s a small group of kids doing something different. 

They’re at the meeting area talking about the garden book we just read, while the rest of the class is at their seats writing about it.

My small group is discussing the main idea of this page, and pointing to the supporting details.  They’re describing the details, and telling interesting things that you might not notice at first glance.  They’re also talking about details the author might have added, but did not.  
ReadyGEN Kindergarten Reading
 In other words, my small group is having a high-level conversation about a non-fiction book.  When they’re finished, they’ll go back to their seats and write about it.

There are so many ways to differentiate—in fact, as many ways as there are kids.  

You can vary lesson elements based on a student’s needs:

a. Readiness (skill level and background knowledge)
b. Interests (topics related and unrelated to the lesson)
c. Learning profile
•  Learning style—visual, auditory, tactile, or kinesthetic
  Grouping preference—individual, small or large group
•  Environment—quiet or loud, bright or dark, large or small space

Differentiation Tips:

  • You may change the content, process, product, or learning environment.
  • You do not have to differentiate for every single child during every lesson, but there should be some accommodation for at least one small group.
  • It may be as subtle as having one child work on the computer with a buddy while the others write independently.
  •  Or it could be a small group of four children, working on phonics skills with the teacher, while the rest of the class pairs up with a buddy to read a leveled book.
  •  Consider differentiating for ELLs, SWDs, high, mid, and low level learners.
An ESL (English as a Second Language) group might learn to say the names of the pictures.  Another group can work on phonics by matching the picture names with the written words on the page.

Differentiation is the same as "tiering."  It's a tier 1 intervention: the classroom teacher is addressing the specific needs of each child.  Tier 2 is when a push-in teacher intervenes, and tier 3 is a pull-out teacher’s domain.

Differentiation isn’t easy.  A teacher needs to put a bit of thought and effort into it.  Some teachers find it impossible, or unnecessary.   Others will tell you they do it all the time, with every teacher-child interaction.

Wanna laugh?  Got 3 minutes?  Here’s a deliciously hilarious video about differentiation.  Enjoy your differentiation video :)