Monday, December 14, 2015

Literature Reference Bookmarks

Hey there,everyone!

This week my kiddos finished reading The Giver by Lois Lowry. I've been waiting for this for two reasons. 1) It means Winter Break is so close I can almost taste it! 2) I can now post about their reference bookmarks because I have examples to show and more insight!

This year, I decided to start using reference bookmarks as a way of helping my lower level readers on the same page (pun intended, of course) as the rest of the class with important aspects of the novel. I also use them because it holds my students accountable for what they read and retain during a novel study.

The lit. reference bookmarks I use are ones I made to fit the specific needs of my classroom and students, but they are pretty basic. They come in two different formats. The first is the activity template and is the format I use most often. This format has space for my students to write down specific information from the novel as they read.

For my lower level readers or for higher level novels, I like to use my pre-filled bookmarks. This format lists all of the same specific information topics, but comes with all of that information already filled out for the student.

Topics included on both formats include:
-Author name
-Original publishing date
-Context (historical or within the author's life)
-Main characters (name and brief description)
-Favorite quote/Memorable quote

For my classroom, this is the basic information I would like all of my students to know at all times. For your classroom, you might like to include things like point of view, conflict, connections, or even the points on a plot map! Depending on what you want your students to get out of a novel and what you want them looking for as they read, you'll want to add topics and replace some altogether.

In my classroom, I collect and grade bookmarks (the fill-in template format) at then end of a novel study. I love seeing that many of my students bookmarks get turned in worn and written on in different colors. This proves to me that they were recording the different pieces of information as they identified it in their reading. If I've handed out the pre-filled version, I like to discuss the different aspects as they appear throughout our reading. In the honors setting, I have my students add to the pre-filled version or have give them a pre-filled bookmark with basic information and a blank template bookmark with other information listed.

Truthfully, the possibilities are endless! I'm so glad I decided to give these a try this year! I plan on using this new tool with every new novel I introduce. Have any of you used these or something similar in your own classroom? I'd love to know what information points you include on yours!

If you'd like to purchase my bookmarks, you can find them here!

-Taliena (Koch's Odds 'N Ends)

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

HyperDocs: Digitalizing Your Worksheets

Hello again!

I wanted to take a few to discuss something I learned about while studying to take my Google Certified Educator exams (more on that later!). Now, I’m not claiming to be an expert, by any means, but I did want to put this idea out there! As I was combing over the basics on how to utilize Google Docs in the classroom, I came across a very brief snippet on something called a “HyperDoc”. It looked interesting and I jotted the idea down to check out later. When I finally finished the studying and passed the exams, I did a little research and, eventually, made my own!

So, what is a HyperDoc? Well,  “HyperDoc is a term used to describe a Google Doc that contains an innovative lesson for students- a 21st Century worksheet, but much better”( Changing Digital Pedagogy). Because my school went 1:1 with Chromebooks this year, I have been doing many of my lessons with the integration of apps and other digital resources. With that said, I have often run into the problem of figuring out what to do when it came time to do a worksheet. I really take pride in the worksheets I have designed and I really didn’t want to give them up, so to speak. Through the use of a HyperDoc, I didn’t have to give up my awesome worksheets! I simply turned them digital and added interactive components to make them even better!

This particular worksheet was simply an article (with a metacognitive marker key for marking the text) with questions to follow. The assignment itself was nothing impressive, but I was semi-proud of how polished I had made it look as a paper assignment. It was time to revamp it! I’ll tell you all about the first HyperDoc I ever made and how it fared in my own classroom! I'll post pictures beneath the steps. The examples are real student work, so you're not only able to see the HyperDoc design, but you get to see how it was used in my classroom!

Step 1: I turned my .pdf file into a Google Doc by opening and saving the file in the Google Docs app.

Step 2: I decided I wanted to turn this very independent and straightforward assignment into a semi-collaborative and interactive one. With that new thought in mind, I found four more articles that tied into the same subject as the original and decided to go in the direction of a jigsaw.

Step 3: I came up with a pre-reading question and created a table at the top of the doc with enough rows for each student in a group of five (I chose five, but you can do any number of students in a group for a HyperDoc activity. The possibilities are endless!).

Step 4: Next, I took the five articles that I had found on the same topic and created a simple chart that consisted of the following: article title, a short description of each article, and a link to each article. The directions above this chart asked students to each choose a different article and read it (no one from the same group should read the same article).

Step 5: Under the article link chart I made another table with questions for the students to answer about their articles. After filling out their own column, students were instructed to jigsaw (share) a short summary of their article and their findings that they had recored in the above mention chart.

Step 6: After jigsawing, students were asked to answer another question using information from their discussion. I created a chart identical (with the new question instead of the old) to the first question chart for this.

Step 7: I took this versatile digital worksheet as an opportunity to reinforce a strategy we had been learning. The last portion of the worksheet was an easy way for my students to get some practice with that strategy while also utilizing information they had gained after reading their articles and jigsawing with their peers.

Step 8: I put specific and bright directions on what to do when finished (how to turn the assignment in for grading).

Now, like I said at the beginning of this post, I don't claim to be an expert in all things HyperDocs, but I do think they are a phenomenal way to boost student engagement/collaboration and an even better opportunity to cover more than one subject,strategy, standard, etc. If you would like more information on how I use HyperDocs, or if you would like an editable copy of this very HyperDoc, comment below or drop me an email and I would more than happy to share everything and anything I have with you!  

-Taliena (Koch's Odds 'N Ends)

"HyperDocs - Changing Digital Pedagogy - 2014 Mountian ..." 2014. 4 Nov. 2015 <>

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Found Poems!

    It's been awhile, my friends! This week my honors classes finished their dystopian independent novel study that they started three weeks ago. I thought I'd reward them by doing something a little more creative and fun (but still academic! shhhh!).  I decided to do found poems with them! I love this activity because the kids have so much fun with it, but I also love it because I can use it as a formative assessment! Now, for those of you who don't know, found poetry is a type of poetry where a passage is taken from a larger piece of text and reframed into poetry. The original text is reframed by adding, deleting, or covering text. If you can't picture it, don't worry! I have plenty of student examples below!

    Because my school recently went 1:1 with Chromebooks this year, I had my students pull out their dystopian novels at the beginning of class and choose what they thought to be the most pivotal 2-3 pages.  This alone can take them a good 10 to 15 minutes. Deciding is so difficult! After they choose, I have them type up their pages in a Google Doc and then resize it to take up most of the page. I make sure I limit it to one page though, because the artwork piece doesn't really work if there are multiple pages involved. Next, they print! I make sure they each print two copies (rough draft and final draft). On the first copy I have them go through and circle words and phrases that are absolutely necessities to the overall meaning and movement of the scene. This ends up being their poem! I have them use the same copy to sketch out a rough draft for their design or picture that will go over or around their selected words and phrases. They must show me a rough draft before they move on to a final draft. 

    I love this activity! When I grade it, I can quickly and easily tell if students understood the main points of their chosen passage. Sometimes I use this activity as an introduction to or refresher on summary writing. It's a great way for your more visual learners to see how a summary comes together! 

Check out these awesome student samples!

If you're interested in doing this in your own classroom, I have my found poem template for sale on my TpT store here!  Check it out!

-Taliena (Koch's Odds 'N Ends)

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Mini Classroom Makeover

This week school finally started! Last week I feverishly and frantically gave my classroom a mini makeover. Because my husband started grad school this summer, I felt it unwise to redo my room completely. I decided to take last year's color scheme and just enhance it. I can always try something new next year, right?

The first thing I changed was my Instagram bulletin board. This year, my school went 1:1 with Chromebooks and I don't think social media posters are going to interest them as much now that the real thing will be sitting right in front of their faces at any given time. I decided to hang my personal pictures on it and make it MY Instagram board. It sits near my desk anyway! I printed off pictures from my real Instagram and hung them on this bulletin board. It's adorable because the pictures are square prints just like they are online. I love it and I'm so happy I didn't have to scrap the bulletin board completely.

The next thing I did to enhance my room was decorate my desk. I bought wrapping paper and washi tape (in my color scheme of aqua and coral, of course) at Target. I covered the front and sides of my desk in the wrapping paper then decorated with the tape! I had a few decorative flowers that I created last year lying around from an old bulletin board, so I added them to the front for a little something extra! The night before school I was creating a bulletin board title piece and decided to print out my last name with it (I was on a roll). I added my letters to ribbon with clothes pins and voila! I now have a cute little name tag!
The next thing I changed was very small. I have had a vertical word wall for a couple of years and I decided to mix it up a bit this year. All I did was pick a new spot and place it horizontally. I have to say, I like it much better on its side!
 The last thing I did to add a little pizzazz to my classroom was add a student work wall. I didn't have one last year and it was sorely missed. When I decided this was going to be something I added, I was sitting in my classroom with nothing to actually put it together. I gathered up some old glitter wrapping paper I had been saving for a rainy day and used that as a background. I then took a very long time trying to figure out what kind of border to use and decided to push my creative boundaries. I grabbed the leftover paper I had used to decorate my desk, cut it, and twisted it. I then stapled it around the edges of glitter wrapping paper. I rounded up some extra flowers from old bulletin boards and printed out some bunting. Let me just say, I was (and still am) truly impressed with this board. It's so cute!
 My room didn't get a complete overhaul makeover, but a little face-lift did wonders and I'm very pleased with it. It just goes to show that a little TLC goes a long way! What does your classroom look like this year? I'd love to hear about your makeover projects and see pictures too!
-Taliena (Koch's Odds 'N Ends)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Seven Teacher T-Shirts You'll Want...NOW!

This week I decided to do a post on the many awesome teacher t-shirts I've seen online lately!

I have seen so many teacher t-shirts being advertised on the internet lately. I like so many of them (more like want) that I dedicated an entire Pinterest board to them. I went through my board recently and chose my top seven favorite t-shirts! Don't worry though, I've provided the links and prices for all of the shirts on this list. 
*Quick disclaimer! I was not paid to endorse any of these t-shirts! I just really like them :D

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My Dog Ate My Lesson Plan ($22.99)
When I saw this t-shirt I fell in love! I wish we could use that excuse!
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You Can't Scare Me; I'm A Teacher (Etsy:Umbuh--$25.00)

I can't tell you how many times I've thought this! My students would get a kick out of this one for sure! 
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I'm Just Going To Wait Until It's Quiet ($20.00)
This is probably my favorite tee on this list! I can't even imagine the number of times I've said this! Maybe I could stop saying it and just wear this t-shirt. 
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If You Think I'm Smart You Should Meet My Students ($22.00)
Bragging rights! I love this! How will people know how awesome our kids are if we don't tell them?
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In It For The Outcome, Not For The Income ($21.00) 
Isn't that the truth? I'm not sure I'd be comfortable enough to wear this one to school, but it has a great message! Plus, I love the apple with the swirl design. How cute?!
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Don't Make Me Use My Teacher Voice ($34.95) 
How many situations do you think could be remedied with the use of your teacher voice? I can think of too many! This shirt made me laugh because I catch myself making a conscious effort not to use my teacher voice outside of school. 
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I LOVE It When My Students Do Their Homework ($22.00)  
I feel like this is something that my students need to know! It makes my week when I don't have to assign 9th hour (detention) for incomplete/missing homework. Maybe this shirt would help me get my point across!
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If you click on a picture of one of the shirts, it should take you directly to the site where you can order one or take a closer look. I know what I'll be asking for when my birthday rolls around this year. Now I just have to narrow it down! 

Don't forget to share your favorite with me in the comments below!

-Taliena (Koch's Odds 'N Ends)

Middle School Blogger Mid-Summer Giveaway!

I've teamed up with a great group of Middle School Bloggers and TpT Sellers to bring you this great mid-summer giveaway! We are giving away TWO prizes! A $60 Target Gift Card and a TpT Product Bundle! Please see the rafflecopter below for how to enter. And make sure to stop by and check out these other wonderful teacher bloggers!

Best of luck!


          Lit With Lyns   //    Middle School Math Man   //   Teaching Teens in the 21st!        
                         Koch's Odds 'N Ends    //     Junior High Core Values                                

Our TpT Bundle includes the following items:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Catching Up

So, it's been quite awhile since I've posted on here. Honestly, I've been spending most of my summer trying to get my TpT store up and running. It's been a lot of work and I feel that every time I cross one thing off my list, something else pops up. I'm beginning to realize that being a seller is a job all of its own. This week I took a break from creating new products to redesign my logo and banners. After I did that, I got drawn into the new Periscope craze taking place in the TpT seller community. I'm apprehensive about conducting my own videos, but I love watching others'. They're great!

As my summer is winding down, I have a few things I need to work on for my store but my district adopted Chromebooks this year and I'll need to start converting paper worksheets/activities to digital form. I'm hoping to be able to share more with you on that process as I navigate it. Hopefully it isn't too much work.

Next week I leave for Denver for the AVID conference! I'm hoping to pick up a lot of good information to share with everyone here. There will definitely be more to share with you very soon.

Thanks to all of you out there reading this! See you next week!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The end is near!

It's the last week of school! Whew! Though this time of year is hectic and exciting, I can't help but feel a little sad that my kiddos are leaving me for the big scary high school next door. Today was our school's PRIDE reward activity, which is our end-of-the-year reward activity for students who didn't receive detention all semester. Usually we show a movie or let them play games outside, but this time we had a skateboard youth group come do a demo for us and then we held a dodgeball tournament in the gym. The kids LOVED it! Below 
There were over 800 middle schoolers on our basketball court!

The rest of the week isn't going to slow down either! We have an awards ceremony tomorrow, finals, and grading! As I was packing up my things to go home this afternoon, I couldn't help but laugh at the current state of my desk (and snap a picture to show you guys, of course)! It's ridiculous but I'm pretty sure most of you can relate. 
The end is near! I promise! Keep your caffeine and chocolate nearby! 

Comment and let me know how the end of your year is going! 

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Side notes!
  • I have new products (freebies and paid) available in my TpT store!
  • Shoutout to for designing my new blog! I absolutely love it!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

My first GIVEAWAY!

That's right! I'm doing a giveaway! If you've been keeping up with my blog so far, you know that my planners are set to come out the first week of June. Well...I finished them a little a head of schedule and I'm too excited to keep them all to myself! It also just so happens to be Teacher Appreciation Week, so I figured we'll go a little over-the-top this week. By that I mean I'll be giving away one of my designer planners (printed, bound, and shipped!), uploading them to TpT, and holding a sale on all of my TpT products! Enough about all of that though! Let's talk about the giveaway!

The planner giveaway starts this Monday (May 4th) and ends Friday (May 8th). You can receive up to 5 entries into the contest and on Friday a winner will be selected at random! There are some pictures of what the planner featured in the giveaway looks like below! Tell me what you think and don't forget to enter the contest before Friday! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Whew! What a Week!

So last week was our first run at a new state standardized test, and I've got to say, it was pretty insane. It was a week so full anxiety, exhaustion, and stress. If it had been my first year and I had to go through that, I'm not sure I would've survived. Here's to hoping next year's testing week runs more smoothly than this year.

I think that one of the big contributors to my stressful week was that I had my classes start a summative research assessment. Self-inflicted, yes, I know. It made for a hectic time. I had to pick up tests before school and lock them in my classroom, run to the computer lab for 1st hour, run back to my room for testing, then run back to the computer lab after for the rest of my classes. At least I got some exercise, right?

There is a silver-lining to this sad story. My kids are really impressing me this year. Their projects are turning out great. The project (in a nutshell) is to create a campaign about a social issue. The campaign must include 3 media channels that contribute to a solution for their chosen social issue (i.e. a t-shirt, a brochure, a bake sale, a PSA commercial). My students really like this project. They get to work in groups that they choose and have the opportunity to creatively express themselves. When they are finished creating their campaigns we have a presentation day where they get to show-off their t-shirts and fun logos and such. Its a great experience. I've posted a couple of works-in-progress below! I'd love to know what you think!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Teaching Planners Update!

It's been too long! Last week and this week are probably the most stressful of the year with test prep and the state testing that follows. With that said, I have had time to do some work on my line of planners I'll be releasing this Summer. When I made the decision  to do this I gave myself the deadline of mid-July. After some consideration, I have decided to up the launch date! More and more schools are moving to the year-round calendar, and thusly, some of you will need planners before mid-July. It's going to be a busy couple of months. All I can say is BRING IT ON! I'm so excited to share these planners with you!

With all of that said, I feel like I need to preview some of the planner themes to get you just as excited as I am! Here are a few of them!

Superhero-Secondary Planner
90's Black & White Flowers-Secondary Planner
Circus-Primary Planner

I have two planners completely finished (only needing a final edit) and I'm working on two more this week. I need some feedback from you guys! What are things you wish you had in your planners? What do they lack? What would be super convenient? Is there anything that could be added to make your life easier? Tell me what you think a teacher planner should be! Comment below!

Until next time!

P.S. Follow me on Instagram!  @kochs_odds_n_ends 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Short Update!

So it's been a few days since I last posted and because I'm trying to make this a regular thing, I'm trying to work it into my busy schedule. Because it's so new (and I'm forgetful), I'm already finding it difficult to post often. I promise I'll get the hang of it!

We're heading into the crazy part of the school year where testing (state and district) start taking over schedules and throw lesson planning into chaos. I'm not quite in panic mode...yet. Ask me to reflect again in a few weeks and I'm sure I'll be stressed and frazzled.

On top of all the testing and end-of-the-year activities, I've been trying to make time for blogging and creating new products to add to my Teacherspayteachers store (Koch's Odds 'N Ends). It has definitely been a slow start, but I've managed to upload six or seven things this week. I plan on working on some new classroom posters and some public service announcement/campaign assignments this weekend! Keep your eyes peeled and, if you like free goodies, subscribe to my blog!

I think I'll have time to post again in a day or so. I hope my posts are making it out to at least some teachers out there interested in why I have to say! If you're out there, let me know!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

My FIRST Post!

This is my FIRST official post on my new Koch's Odds 'N Ends blog! I'm so excited to start sharing all of my new products, ideas, and things I have in the works. Summer is right around the corner and I'll be a very busy lady getting things ready to go for the 2015/2016 school year.

Anyway, I want to start this blog off right! I spent the majority of my Saturday coordinating color swatches, themes, and clipart for my new lesson planning books! I'm beyond excited for these beauties! This is a huge endeavor that will take a gigantic amount of time and effort, but my personal planner turned out so awesome last year that I feel like I have to share the product with others!

You see, two years ago I received an offer for my first post-college job as an 8th grade English/Honors English teacher (after 9 or 10 interviews with no luck).  After crying tears of joy and tackling my husband out of excitement, I spent the majority of my summer planning and creating. My first week of school I realized I had forgotten to buy a lesson plan book! I scoured the internet for a secondary education planner and found very little. Everything that was adorable was marketed towards elementary ed. and everything that was marketed towards secondary ed. was straightforward and very simple with no frills.

Eventually, I found myself on I really liked one particular seller's planners but they were designed for elementary ed. with the boxes divided by subject and pages for a single roster (not the 6-7 that I needed). Being that I was desperate and also in love with the design, I bought one of her digital/printable planners. I used what I could and scrapped what I couldn't. What a waste! :(

Fastforward to last summer. I couldn't justify buying another planner that I would probably only use a quarter of. I took on the huge task of making my own. It took many attempts, mistakes, and a lot of frustration. However, the end result was PERFECT! I had everything I needed for the school year and it was also stylish and trendy.

And now here we are! I've decided to share my creation with you! I'll be introducing my secondary ed. planners this summer. I have five different designs in the works and can't decide which one I'll be using myself! Here's a little sneak peak at some of the patterns I purchased today!