Meet the Face Behind Tried & True Teaching Tools

Hi there, I'm Kathie! I’m a native Californian, married to an amazingly supportive and talented husband (he can pick up any musical instrument and play it!) AND he can fix anything! AND he cooks!! How lucky am I?!
We have 3 wonderful daughters: our oldest is an art gallery director on cruise ships (I didn't even know that was a thing!) She is an amazing photographer and her greatest love is traveling the world, so this is the perfect job for her!  Our middle daughter is 24 and she’s practically an animal whisperer. Ever since she was little, she could relate to animals and imitate their sounds perfectly. She’s an “outside the box” thinker, and a talented original artist. She is also a new mama! Her sweet baby, Roman is always smiling and laughing! Our youngest is a sophomore in high school who keeps us on our toes! She is very musical, quick-witted, a voracious reader, and loves to debate. She found "her people" in marching band; she plays the marimba, 
Although these family pics are quite a few years old, they are my absolute favorite because they capture the essence of my girls and they were taken by my dear friend & former parent, Micaela Bensko. She is an amazing human being, author, former photographer, and the list goes on & on!! Get to know her inspirational story of life, redirected dreams, and faith!!

I started teaching in a large school district in southern California in 1987 & I’m STILL just as passionate about teaching & learning!! I’m inspired by other teachers: their ideas, lessons, and their classrooms.  I try to keep up to date on the latest educational research, then try to implement strategies & ideas with my students. I’m addicted to reading professional books, reading education blogs, and going to conferences! (Although I’m old to teaching, I’m VERY new to professional social networking; I thought someone was joking when I first heard the terms “blogging” & “tweeting”!) I taught primary grades for 10 years, but have remained in 4th grade for the last 24 years. I LOVE our social studies curriculum: California History. (See my RESOURCES tab for lots of ideas, books, and field trips!) I’ve taught at a range of schools, from an English Language Title I school, to a gifted/high-achieving magnet school, to an elementary charter school, and for the last 14 years at a K-8 charter school.

Training teachers (& soon-to-be teachers) is another love of mine. I’ve taught several graduate courses/methodology classes at local universities, as well as enjoy presenting at conferences and leading staff developments and professional book clubs.

I opened my  Teachers Pay Teachers store in the fall of 2013.  It's been quite the learning curve for me! I've always created my own learning centers and hands-on activities.  Thank goodness for computers; I laugh (shudder?) to think how I used to (literally) cut & paste clipart and hand-drew recording sheets for my students. I create products to use with my class: math, social studies, and authentic assessment tools. I'm especially excited about my photo files; I'm never without camera in hand and my photographs enhance student understanding. You can check them out here.

Be sure to follow me on Facebook & Instagramas they are the best places to find out about new products, sales, and updates! I hope you'll join me on this adventure called teaching!!


  1. Hi, Kathie. I'm with Scholastic Teacher magazine and am interested in talking with you about a story for us. If you're interested, please email me at

    Thanks, Chris

  2. Hi, Kathie. I'm with Scholastic Teacher magazine and am interested in talking with you about a story for us. If you're interested, could you get in touch with me at

    Thanks, Chris