Monday, August 31, 2015

Back to School!!

Tomorrow is my first day back... no students, just teachers.

I'm nervous!! New place, new people... I feel like a kid all over again!!

Best of luck to everyone over the next few weeks. September can be so overwhelming!!

Happy Teaching!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Getting Excited!

I posted this picture on FB today as I was getting my new digs all set-up. Sometime next week, I'll hopefully have a "proper" room unveiling. For right now, things are going okay. None of my stuff has been moved from my old classroom yet, so I'm kinda stressy right now... nothing a few dozen Reese's peanut butter cups can't handle!


So, I've got a new product to share with you. For the record, I really don't like to make a product the subject of a blog post, so please see the above picture and blurb and pretend that my Chinese lantern and picture are the real focus here :) Now, let me bring your attention to this:

This is my new Reader's Response Journal for the upper grades and I'm in love with it!! First a little back story... So, I love to incorporate reader's workshop into my day. I did it for YEARS!! Each month, students would self-select a book (a "Just Right" book if you've read Fountas and Pinnell!). Then, every day after recess, we'd read silently for 15 minutes. And then twice a week, students would write in their Reader's Response Journal (a marble copybook) and tell me about their book. Like a fool, I'd lug all those marble copy books home over the weekend and grade them. It was a great. I loved it. The kids loved it. They were READING!

Anyway, as our curriculum changed over the years, Reader's Workshop was slowly edged out of my day. Last year, I didn't do it at all :(

Well, this year, with my new move to 7th grade, comes a fresh start... and a longer ELA block!! Sixteen minutes longer to be exact! Just enough time for reader's workshop!

I'm so excited to get back into it! There is nothing I love more than a dead-silent classroom filled with kids reading all over the place. It just makes my heart swoon!

But, since I have a lot more students then I am used to having in the past, I knew there was no way I was going to carry all those marble copybooks home! Enter this Reader's Response Journal! In the past, I've had students make little booklets like this for writing and in their ISNs. They are a breeze to make and super portable. I can't believe I never thought of using one of these for reader's workshop!

So, you print this puppy out and then fold and staple it into a little booklet.

Inside is room for ten entries (summary + a literary analysis question), and then one final prompt after students finish the book. It's perfect because it fits right into students' fancy-schmancy gallon storage bags that they use to transport their books to and from school.

I love it! No more bulky notebooks! I am so excited to have students make these and get them reading self-selected books, again :)

So, do you incorporate reader's workshop into your day? Any helpful tips or strategies you can share? I'd love to hear from you!!

Happy Teaching!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers One Day Sale!

Hey Teachers! Just because we love you and appreciate all that you do for our kids:

Everything in my store (and many others!) is up to 28% off with the promo code: MORE15.

That makes my Interactive Notebook-The HUGE Bundle!! only $14.40!! That is incredible savings on a product you will use all year long for many years to come!

Also, you can get my ULTIMATE Writer's Workshop Collection for Common Core for just $16.80! That's weeks and weeks of writing plans!

So, again, thanks for all you do for our children each and every day!!

Happy Shopping!!

Friday, August 14, 2015

Teaching Writing: the 4-1-1 (video post!)

So, you have to teach writing, huh? Or maybe you already teach writing and you're looking for some fresh insight? Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is the blog post for you!

I've compiled a video post all about how I teach writing in my middle school classroom. This video was a beast, but it's finally finished!

I've had so many emails and questions about how I teach writing, that I thought I'd compile it all into a video. It's loooong, but I had so much to say!

I'd love to hear your thoughts:

Links to stuff featured in this video:

Or... get everything in one place:

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

ELA Teachers! Check Out This **FREE** eBook!!

Hey ELA middle school and high school ELA teachers!! Have you seen this? It's a **FREE** eBook that you can download from Teachers Pay Teachers! It's chock full of back-to-school tips and tricks from seasoned teachers to help you ease into a new school year, and includes bucket loads of links for FREEBIES you can download! What do you have to lose!? Now go get it!!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Practicing What You Pin: A Game-Changer for Organization!

So, when I pinned this image from Brooke Brown's blog, Teaching Outside the Box, I was so confident that it would change everything about my lesson planning storage, that I IMMEDIATELY ordered a case of these boxes from Amazon!

Ladies and Gentleman... this may very well be one of the best organizational strategies that I've come across and it is going to be a GAME CHANGER for me!! You see, I hate file folders... mostly because I can't stand those stupid little plastic tabs they have because they always snap off whenever I open my filing cabinet. And then, there is the issue that when the file gets too "fat," with mentor texts or task card sets that I need to STORE WITH THE LESSON, LEST I FORGET ALL ABOUT THEM OR CANNOT FIND THEM FOR THE FOLLOWING YEAR (just me?!?), it starts to roll up which messes with my stored documents.

And I hate binders because I refuse to put holes in my fancy documents, like my anchor posters. So, that means I need those slippery clear page protector thingys, which always seem like a great idea, but I've found that they are actually one of those things that are much better in theory than practice! You see, while I may initially set my binder up, all organized-like with all my lesson's documents neatly encased in glossy splendor, I NEVER, and I mean EVER, put stuff back in those correctly because, well-ain't nobody got time for that!-so all my stuff winds up getting tossed into the binder, willy-nilly-like, and gets all squished around! And again, binders have no space for mentor texts or task cards that I use for a unit (because again, if I don't store those things with my lesson/unit plan, I will misplace them or forget all about them for the following year!)... so, basically, binders are worthless for me!

But these project cases?!? Genius, Brooke Brown!! Look at what I've done so far with my writing units:

Mentor texts and task cards fit right in the box!!

My anchor posters remain hole-less and squish-free! 

I'm so stoked! I've already put an order in for another case of cases. Game changer for sure!!

What is your method for lesson storage/organization. I'd love to hear about it :)

Happy Teaching!!

P.S. The writing units you see in this post are available in my TpT store. Since I am moving from 6th grade to 7th grade, I've been working all summer to revamp my units. My plan is to teach three narrative units, three inform/explain units, and three argument units throughout the year (along with some writer's notebook stuff, some Flash Fiction, spooky stories for Halloween, a research paper, and a end-of-the year writing project). My hope is to post a video about my strategies for teaching writing in middle school, so stay tuned!! If you are interested in checking out some of my *new* writing units, here's what I've got so far (keep checking the store for the additional units, as I will be posting them as I finish them!)

Narrative Writing (Vol.1): Writing About Lessons Learned
Narrative Writing (Vol. 2): Writing About Memorable Places
Narrative Writing (Vol. 3) Writing About Special Treasures

Inform/Explain (Vol. 1): "And the Winner Is..."

Sunday, August 2, 2015

We Love Back to School! Sale on Teachers Pay Teachers

My wishlist is a mile long! What will you buy?!?

Everything in my store is 20% off, with an additional 10% off using the promo code BTS15.

That's a great price for this:

And also this:
And don't forget this:

Happy Shopping!!