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My humorous thoughts about life.

"My Humorous and Helpful Thoughts About Teaching / Educational Resources for Your Classroom / Music and Random Fun"

Friday, December 31, 2021

Dollar Deals for The New Year

The Holidays were great, but all good things must end. Make your transition back to school better by adding resources to your collection for just $1! I am participating in TWO huge dollar deals.
Just search #Cheers2022 to find a plethora of great resources for only a $1. I'm offering two language arts worksheet packages for upper elementary students.
Find it at: and
Which is at: But here is more! If you need logic puzzles, here are two. First a resource for your elementary students. and finally, here's one for high school. Happy Shopping! Joyce Catch My Products The Gifted Department Store

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sunday, November 14, 2021

My Favorite Christmas Activity in the Classroom

After thirty years in the gifted and talented classroom, I had a favorite activity each Christmas season that was so much fun for all! I would partner with a primary teacher who would have her students write letters to Santa, and my older kids would answer these. I know it is still November, but mail is slow to and from the North Pole, so I'd give this an early start!
Let's face it. There comes a time when kids stop believing in Santa and become a part of the secret. I found the best age to return letters is sixth grade and up. One year, I did this activity with fifth graders and got a horrible look on one young man's face that told me I was destroying a valued secret. 😢 I spoke to his mother who said, "It's about time!" Still, I felt horrible and never went below sixth grade after that.
I also found that first grade is the ideal age for the letter writers. The kindergarten letters are pretty much illegible, but the third grade up crew have several non-believers. Second grade is kinda a toss-up in terms of nonbelievers, but may also work.
The best of the best is to pair siblings together or kids that know each other. When my son was in sixth grade, he was in my class and his littlest sister was in first. He wrote, "Be nice to your brother and sister . . . especially Daniel." 😂😂
If you can tap into a pair that know each other, the letter gets very personal and fun. I also got the first-grade teacher to spill the juice on kids who we didn't know. I heard that the first graders were in shock at how Santa knew so much. The older kids had a blast writing letters from Santa!
However, a couple of ground rules are important. Do not promise anything that the parent has not given you permission to say! This is especially true for puppies. 😂😂 I remember a young child asking for a puppy and Santa's reply. "We don't have any puppies at the North Pole. How about a polar bear?"
The final bit of fun takes a little money out of the teacher's pocket. I mean face it, what doesn't? I used to buy peppermint sticks and staple them to each letter. Of course, candy is optional but adds to the enjoyment.
If you decide to write letters have fun and drop me a line telling me how it went. I'd love to hear from you.
I have also posted two new Christmas logic puzzles and am working on a third. Christmas Logic Puzzles for 4th - 6th grade are 1/2 off until tomorrow.
I also just posted a High School Christmas Logic Puzzle for 20% off. I typically will not sell resources for under a dollar and am not even sure TpT will let me.
I am currently working on a Primary Christmas Critical Thinking Activities Pack for 1st - 3rd, which should be in my store soon. It will also start at 1/2 price for a limited time, so please make sure you follow my store to receive notification for when it goes on sale.
If your kids do not fit in these exact grade categories, these resources might still work for them. After all, you know your kids best. The previews are pretty extensive and should give you a good idea of what is inside.
Also, a quick apology to the high school teachers for not making multiple puzzle packs like for the younger kids. Let's face it, creating the rigour appropriate for high school can be tough. I do my best. Hopefully, one day I will have a high school puzzle for each season/holiday and will create a bundle that way. Just like the letters, I make no promises because who knows whether or not Santa can deliver. 😂 After all, the most recent puzzle had to be proofed multiple times because I kept getting a different answer. My rule of thumb is that if a puzzle doesn't make me sweat, at least a little, it's not difficult enough for high school.
Have a great rest of the weekend and please keep your headaches to a minimum as you teach during the holiday season. I remember how tough it was. (((HUGS)))
Joyce Catch My Products The Gifted Department Store
Thanks to Blame it on The Weekend for the photos.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Happy Halloween

Although for awhile, now, we've been wearing masks and consuming huge amounts of candy, the official day for this is right around the corner. I love Halloween! This year, we put more decorations out to delight our grandson who has come for a visit. My husband calls the balloon ghost in the yard a snowman because he melts everynight when I unplug him. I figure there is no sense flashing his colorful lights all night, when no one sees them, only to have his bulbs burn out before the 31st. The new gadgets for Halloween are amazing! Somehow he senses the night and lights up only in the daylight. I think the poor guy was hung over this morning because although he blew up, he needed my help to stand to his full five-feet.
We also have a little ghost who lights up and sang an annoying song, repeatedly. My grandson fixed this ghost with a swim in the dog's waterbowl. Now, he lights up, even on the off switch, but his little song is softer, so I don't hear, "Trick-or-Treat. Smell my feet. Give me something good to eat!" Darn it. A few years ago, my son caught me asleep on the couch and thought it fitting to film me. I showed him when I openned an eye in midproduction. He turned this clip into a delightful Halloween comercial for my store. Check this out. Be sure to click to find all sorts of Halloween activities for ages K - 12! Joyce Catch My Products

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Halloween Fun

I love Halloween! It's the one night of the year when kids can dress up and collect candy from friends, relatives, and neighbors. I grew up in St. Louis where trick-or-treat meant just that. When ringing door bells, home owners would often request a trick before giving a treat. This practice stopped at our home after Larry, a large child, shook the house with his somersault. None-the-less, Halloween was a great time to hear a good joke and enjoy fun. We weren't the vicious youngsters who would toilet paper a house as a trick.
Can you guess what this couple is dressed as?
Furthermore, what kid doesn't like Halloween activities in the classroom or through distance learning? Here is your chance to challenge your 4th and 5th graders with a logic puzzle pack!
Inside this BUNDLE you will find: Halloween Logic Halloween Logic Answer Key Halloween Circle Logic (difficult) Halloween Circle Logic Answer Key Vocabulary Words for Story Writing Creative Halloween Prompt Halloween Research Halloween Research Answer Key Ghost Research Design a Haunted Classroom Measurement Activity
Find spooky good fun at: Answer: Star Wars

Monday, September 13, 2021

Reading to Learn

There's an old saying that in grades kindergarten through third grade we learn to read, but come fourth grade up, we read to learn. Reading to learn is great provided we capture a kid's interest first. It seems like the older kids get, the more difficult it is to keep them engaged. Afterall, high school kids are more interested in finding dates or a good party for the weekend than what the teacher wants them to read. That is why choosing high interest reading passage topics is so important. Usually, I will look for a topic that is trending or that I've been curious or interested in knowing more about. Often I'll go beyond the normal topic, so I have to geer these passages to high schoolers. Of course you can't have an elementary student reading about Ed Gein slicing his victims and wearing them as we saw in The Silence of the Lambs. You also don't want to introduce younger students to a real life murder from a pair of 1890s lesbians. History is rarely rated G, and I've told it like it was in many high school reading passages. What's even better is the price! When it comes to reading passages, I have bundled activities for 30% off the price of individual resources. I know 30% is a lot of savings, but reality, I'd much rather see a teacher buy several lessons at once than just one story. If you're interested in my best seller for October, check this out. Passages come with discussion questions, writing prompts, and answer keys. Thanks for tuning in.

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Win a $10 TpT Gift Card

I am giving away another Teachers Pay Teachers gift card. All you have to do is enter the rafflecopter for a chance to win this contest, which has LOW numbers. But hurry. Contest ends, soon! Good luck in the contest and look for new resources coming soon to Catch My Products!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Six Sentences Not on the Farm

Kate Hadfield Designs The rooster crowed all day and night, so the neighbors called the town’s municipal center to get it removed from the block. Owning roosters, in the suburbs, certainly went against Germantown code, but the selfish neighbors didn’t care about the incessant noise. They were the center of their own universe. Planning carefully, they sent the creature on a short vacation only to return it to their home in hopes of fertilizing the chicken eggs. It returned, so neighbors complained, again. After three times, the judge will now deal with the cock-a-doodle-doos.

Monday, July 12, 2021

This Week's Sales and Giveaways

Reduced, FREE, and Giveaways for ALL Grade Levels! Grades K - 12 Find all deals, giveaways, and freebies here! This July, I'm participating with grades 3 - 5. If that's not your grade level, no problem. Click above. If it is, check this out!
Monday (Today) Dollar Deals! I'm even offering my novel for only a $1.
Tuesday Two dollar deals! Wednesday Digital Dollar Deals!
Thursday Week #2 Giveaway Three teachers will win $5o gift cards to TpT!
Here are Week #1 winners – July 8th and 9th Group 1 Winner – Katie T. Group 2 Winner – Teresa L. Group 3 Winner – Christina S. If not you, try again Thursday, you never know. Eve G. seems to always win my contests. It is probably because she enters them all. If you don't enter, you can't win. GOOD LUCK! Friday FREE Resources!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Six Word Story on "Season"

Art by Sarah Pecorino Illustration

Ketchup on Rice

I stared at the soft, white ovals on my plate that not only tasted bad but were not even worth it from a nutritional standpoint. I don't understand how anyone likes plain white rice for it is the blandest food I've ever tasted and certainly needs someone to season it. Maybe it would be palatable with a sprinkle of dill weed and pepper. That is not enough, so I could add Worchester sauce to it, too. Actually, the only way to make it really tasty is a blob of ketchup mixed throughout the rice. YUM!

Monday, June 21, 2021

Music Monday Happy Birthday to my Little Girl! And Ruby

 Today, is Judy's birthday making her older than yesterday. My beautiful daughter has blossomed into an accomplished young woman! She is currently enjoying her return to school to work on a Master's Degree at the University of Michigan. Unsurprisingly, this beautiful and brilliant young lady is still the 'A' student that she's always been and if up to her, she'd love to keep on learning in school, forever because Judy has an unsettled curiosity to know about everything in the world. I really think she should have been a lawyer with her quick wit and brilliant argument skills. Nonetheless, she will run a nonprofit, work for social causes, or do any of the numerous jobs that she is being set up for.

Of course she is a dog lover, too! In honor of her birthday, here is a Beatles classic from long ago!

On another note, we just got back from a visit to our son's home with our dogs. As I posted not long ago, he recently lost his dog, Ruby. Our two older dogs were very attached to her and showed definite signs of mourning. Honey Bear sniffed all over the house looking for her while Millie refused to eat. Just like people, dogs get attached to loved ones, too. Here is a song for Ruby from an olden decade. I think of Ruby with this song, because this is how she acted when ever we saw her. Ie., she'd go crazy on us with her jumping Dino dog reaction!

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Friday, June 4, 2021

Remembering Ruby

We received the dreaded phone call last night. Ruby, our much loved grand-dogter passed on at the ripe old age of 14 years old.

Although fourteen seems young, our furry friends are given a very short time here on Earth. As a golden retriever, she outlived most others of her breed, who have an average life expectancy of 10 - 12 years. She also died at home with her family as she quietly quit her labored breathing.

Ruby was a gift for our son's 19th birthday. He often referred to her as the gift that keeps on giving. She spent her youth as part of a college fraternity and was able to fart and burp with the best of them. Everyone loved Ruby, and Ruby loved a good party. She was a wild young thing as she would jump onto our six foot fence and peek over to tell the neighbors, "Hello." She did this until just a few years ago when she lost her high jumping abilities. But, she still loved to steal tomatoes wherever she could find them.

So, what do you do when the performance of the Can-Can is a little over an hour away, and Ruby chews up your bloomers? Or when your socks manage to get twisted in a red dog's intestines, and had to be removed by the vet. It feels like that wild little puppy quickly grew into a calm old gal . . .  and she will be missed!

Yet, even as an old dog, she was still Ruby. Daniel had a great plan to propose to his wife under a waterfall on a camping trip. Instead, Ruby rolled in something smelly, so the proposal was a bit less romantic.

Ruby had such an expressive face that I couldn't help but use her modeling shot in my store logo. Afterall, who could resist that goofy grin?

Ruby is the dark red, adult retriever in the sudoku puzzle. 
She was such a looker in her day!

In memory of Ruby, I have placed my dog logic puzzles at half price until 
I feel like putting things back to normal. Maybe for a few weeks. 
I don't want to think about that, right now. 

Good Bye, Sweet Girl!

Ruby as Regina George with her friends, Honey and Millie.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Summer is Special

Although summer doesn't technically begin until June 21st, my daughter's birthday and the longest day of the year (especially in 1990), most of us feel like it's summer when that end of the school bell rings, on that last day. I've been in schools with that tearful goodbye to the kids followed by the blasting of "Celebration" over the intercom when the last little rugrat is gone. Now that it is summer, what do you do?

The last thing you want, right now, is to think about the next school year. This is the time to read a good book, travel, or just chlax. I loved The Four Winds by Kristen Hannah, Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and anything by Jodi Picoult. You can think I'm not right, but I was also fascinated by Stiff by Mary Roach. If you don't want to read about cadavers, it might be fun to read kids books like the Harry Potter series, The One and Only Ivan, or books by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I know, summer is the time to forget about teaching, but it helps to read what kids read so that you know how to suggest good reads and can have a laugh over a silly Gordon Korman book. My daughter always questioned my love of reading books for kids.

If you're not into summer reading, how about a vacation? Depending on where you live, I'm sure there are a lot of fun weekend jaunts. We like to trek over to Nashville to see the grandson. If you live near a beach or mountain, lucky you! The vacation is in your backyard.

Another summer love of mine is the smoothie! Here is a page from my Smoothie Reading Passage that give you some great recipes. Enjoy your summer!

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Sign Up for My Email to Receive a FREE Reading Passage

FREE Reading Passage 

with sign up for Email 

from Catch My Products!

Teachers click to get free resource for secondary school students with core standard curriculum instruction for kids. #teachersfollowteachers #iteachhighschool #TEACHers

Receive this FREE reading passage 

for Middle or High School that Includes:


  • Two page informative passage
  • Vocabulary Practice
  • Five Discussion Questions
  • Research Questions
  • Writing Prompt
  • Complete Answer Key

Find teaching products for kids in high school or middle school language arts class. #teachersofthegram #teaching #freeforteachers

YAY! It works. Plus,
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or both.
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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

What's up?

Lookie look what I've got!

Teach logic puzzles in May at the end of the school year for critical thinking skills for gifted and talented students on Teachers Pay Teachers. #TpT #TeachersPayTeachers #iteachtoo #iteach345 #educationKeep kids engaged and challenged at the end of the school year with fun logic puzzles on Teachers Pay Teachers. #teachersofthegram #teachersofinstagram #teachersoffacebook #teach

Teach summer logic puzzle fun, word search, and writing prompts that the kids will love! #fun #summerfun #kids #elementarykids #middleschoolkids Camp fun with logic puzzles for kids in June, July, or August fun. Critical thinking skills are awesome! #edu #teacher #teacherresources #parents #summeractivities

Also, if you are looking for a good read for the end of the school year or over the summer, check out my EBook Novel, Mrs. Zimmerman's Donuts. This delightful novel takes a look at a problem plaguing our classrooms, bullying. 

​     Every Friday after school, Harrison Zimmerman invited popular boys over for a stupid end-of-the-week celebration. His mom would fry up homemade donuts dipped in thick chocolate sauce. My mouth watered as we passed his house and I breathed in the scent of those gooey pieces of dough. ​

     Mom usually fell into a tantrum at the thought of me swallowing anything slightly junky. She fussed over eating healthy as if my gut would explode if the tiniest bit of sugar or grease tickled my insides. But the real reason I’d never eaten the donuts: Harrison had never invited me. Actually, no one had ever asked me to go anywhere.

     Things were about to change.

Please stop by my store, where you'll find over 800 resources for ages K - 12!


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