Sunday, January 17, 2016

What I've Learned: Quick and Easy Square Product Covers

Hello and welcome to Literacy Loves Company blog!  I wanted to take a moment to share with you a little bit of what I have learned as a TpT seller.  When I first started on TpT a little over 2 years ago, I didn't know a thing.  It was SCARY!  I felt like I had great ideas for resources, but I had no idea how to make a product, handle copyright, clip art, use PowerPoint....  the list of what I didn't know is endless.

Over this two years I have learned so much and I learned it from fellow TpT'ers and bloggers.  I read, watched videos, tried and failed many times and, in the end, I feel like I have learned more in the last 2 years than I have learned in the 10 years before that.

Because other sellers have been so helpful to me, I thought I would branch out and share a little bit of what I have learned in this TpT and blogging journey.  For my first video (Yikes!) , I'm sharing with you how I quickly and easily make square product covers for my TpT products.  After watching the video, please leave your own tips and trick in the comment section!  We can all learn from each other.

(This is all a learning process for me, so I'm trying to figure out why the video is blurry. Eeek!  You can watch a much crisper version by clicking HERE.  It will take you to Youtube.)

I hope the video was helpful!  If you have questions or would like me to make other short videos on TpT topics, please let me know in the comments.

As the video indicated, click HERE for a free download of not 2...  but 6 free borders (3 matching pairs)!  If you like the borders, please take a moment to leave feedback for the product on TpT.

Free from Peek-a-Boo Borders!

Free from Dot-Dash & Swirl Border Set!

Free from Cozy Corner border set!  

If you are interested in the full border sets, you can click on them here:

Thank you for visiting Literacy Loves Company!  I hope you will take a moment to follow me here, on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram where I share classroom ideas for lesson, organization, and management!

Until next time...

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Finding the Joy in Planning

There's something very comforting in fresh starts.  As a teacher, you get a fresh start each day, each week, and a big fresh start each year.  A chance to start over.  A chance to improve.  A chance to try something different.  

January is another chance for a fresh start.  I consider it the season of fresh starts for my personal life.   A chance to renew goals and set new ones.  This year, I didn't make any "official" new year resolutions.  (To be honest, I was recovering from pneumonia and all I wanted was to stop coughing.)    Instead I have the life goal that I'm always striving for:

Of course that goal isn't as simple as it seems.  There are a lot of "sub-goals" that go with it and the toughest one for me is being organized.

People who know me think I am an organized person.  Maybe I am on the outside, but inside of myself I feel like I am one sticky-note from losing it.  If you took a look at my desks at home and at school you would see stacks, sticky notes, and a dozen different notebooks and notepads.  I've tried planners, journals, electronic schedules.  None of these methods have brought me joy or made me calm.

During winter break, while I was wheezing and hacking my way through another day of Instagram and Pinterest browsing, I came across an intriguing post about Bullet Journals.  It caught my attention and I embarked on a research frenzy.  I watched videos, searched hashtags, and stalked blogs (I'll post links at the bottom of the post.)

By the end I was hooked.   Here is why:
1. You can use whatever notebook you want.  No need to buy a $50+ planner system.
2.  It's a planner...  a journal... a sketch book... whatever you want or need it to be.
3.  It's a fairly simple idea.
4.  It's artistic and colorful.
5.  It's everything in one place.

Here is a little pic-tour of my bullet journal as it is at this point:
This Leuchtturm1917 journal was highly recommended for using as a bullet journal.  They come in lined, grid, and dotted.  Most bullet journal enthusiasts suggest using the dotted.  This journal is great!  It comes in a variety of vibrant colors, includes a pre-made index, and has a convenient little pocket on the inside back cover to hold journal goodies.  

I started out using this collection of pens, but noticed that I was having some issues with the ink not drying quickly (You'll be able to see what  I mean in the pictures below.)  After doing some reading, I bought a set of Staedtler pens and a set of Tombow Dual Brush markers.  Both have been working out wonderfully!

This is my "Key".  When I jot things into my bujo (bullet journal) I use these symbols.  
This is my "Year at a Glance" page.  
This page is for daily tasks, thoughts, events, etc.  I've also been adding the weather for the day.
This is the "Habit Tracker" for the month.  I've put things I hope to do daily or weekly.  I haven't yet stepped on the treadmill...  Yikes!  I may have to do that just so I can put a mark on that line.  It is getting pretty obvious!  
This is my "Daily Gratitude" page.  I've seen them done many different ways, but this is how I chose to do it.  I'm trying to jot down at least 2 things I am grateful for each day.  
This is my "TpT Product Idea" page.  The name says it all.  I've added a little quote I saw on instagram posted by MegsNewBoxofCrayons.  
This is my "Wish List" page.  This page is for the things I hope to do or get this year.  
These are my "Future Planning" pages.  This is where I add events that are happening later in the year.  

There are many other pages I am planning on adding.  For example, I am starting to read "The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo.  I will be adding a page in my bujo for taking notes from the book.

So far, this little journal has brought joy to my life.  I don't feel stressed about keeping it up to date.  JOY! I love getting it out each night with my colored pencils and markers and updating it.  JOY!  I'm excited about finding designs and inspirational quotes to add to the pages.  JOY! and I know exactly where my to-do list is for both school and home! calm.

If you would like to know more about bullet journaling, here are a couple of resources that I found very helpful:

Thank you for stopping by!  Be sure to follow me on Instagram and/or Facebook for more pics of my bullet journal journey as well as classroom ideas and resources!

New TpT Resources:
Greek and Latin Root Words - PowerPoints Slideshow, posters, interactive notebook pages, hands-on literacy/word work stations!

Math Center:  Converting, adding and subtracting, and multi-step word problems for metric measurement.