Friday, June 17, 2016

A Little of This and a Little of That!

So... summer break is here! My kids finished school yesterday and now we settling into our new "normal" for the next two months. Late nights playing outside, swimming, ice cream for dinner, picnics, the beach, fireworks... and lots, and lots, and LOTS of dishes! I swear these kids eat 600 times a day! What is that about?!?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

So, these are sitting on my nightstand ready for me to read this summer. I've read bits and pieces of Book Love, but I'm eager to sit and read the whole thing. And I'm super excited for Writing with Mentors. Even though it's written for grades 9-12, I'm sure I'll get a lot out of it. Using mentor texts in writing is my jam! I use Notice and Note in my class already, so I'm looking forward to see what the nonfiction version has to offer. And of course I have to save something from my man, Kelly Gallagher.

What are you reading this summer? Are you a PD-reading nerd like me, or do you give your teacher brain a rest over the summer?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

Also, as I said in my last post, I've got some great FREEBIE lessons coming your way in July! This year for our summer learning program, I'm putting together a creative writing class that uses picture books as mentor texts. I'm stoked for summer school and so excited to share these lessons with you. Here are some of the books that I think I'm using:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 
And lastly, I want to share this new product with you that I am just SOOOOOOOO excited about:

I've been wanting to make a product like this for a long time, and I finally got around to designing some pages and trying it out with some of my struggling writers this past school year. I spent the first few days of my summer break (while my own children were still in school!) putting it all together and getting it up in my store.

Basically these are Interactive Writer's Notebook pages. There are over 60 pages that can be glued into a student's writer's notebook to give your kids a little "creative nudge." (Note: if your students do not use writer's notebooks, you can just print the pages and staple them together.) I love these because I so often have students who lack writing motivation/inspiration. They hate when I tell them what to write about, but also struggle to get their act together when I tell them they can write about anything they want.
These pages allow students to have some creative choice, but then also the structure and support they need to get their words on the page. (And I cannot stress enough how much fun all the doodley clip art makes writing!) They were a big hit with 7th graders, especially my boys who are a few years below grade level in their writing.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

So, that's what I've been up to!! How about you? Have you started break yet? Maybe your break is at a different time than ours? I'd love to hear from you!!

Happy Teaching!!

P.S. I will be on vacation for the rest of June, but come back and visit me in July and check out my FREEBIE writing lesson plans :)


  1. I am incredibly thankful to have found your blog in the middle of last school year. I was struggling teaching writing to my sixth graders and you not only made my life easier, but also my teaching so much better! Your ideas helped me realize what my sixth graders needed as far as writing instruction and their writing improved tremendously. I am excited to start next year using interactive notebooks and writing from lists from the beginning when school starts on August 10! (I know that sounds early but our last day was May 26 where I teach in Kentucky.) My summer reading has included the books you recommended on your blog and appreciate that your lessons incorporate great ideas from all of those sources. My plan is to conference much more with my students next year as well as using mentor texts more effectively. I was wondering if you practice On Demand Writing with your students and if so, how? Thank you so much!

  2. I am moving to 6th grade ELA this next year from 3rd grade and found your blog while I was frantically looking for resources!! I LOVE your ideas and have already purchased your September - December Writing Bundle and can't wait to use it! I am reading lots of novels to determine what I want to use in my classroom next year! I am definitely going to look into the books you mentioned! Any others that you might recommend for a middle school newbie?

  3. You might enjoy Craft Moves by Stacey Shubitz and The Big Book of Details by Rozlyn Linder. These are great for writing teachers.

  4. I think I'm a PD nerd, like you. I can't turn my brain off and give it a break, even if I try!

    I graduated in April with my MAT -- after 13 years of substitute teaching, it was time to get my own classroom -- but now I'm jobless, hunting, and going *crazy* without anything to do this summer, either schoolwork of my own, or lesson planning and grading (I had student teaching this past year). I can't exactly plan for the coming school year, since I don't know if I will have a classroom of my own, nor do I know what I might be teaching (I'm 4-9 ELA and SS). So... I'm going to start reading "Soundings" (AMLE), took a 10-week free course online about the Constitution, am taking part in some AMLE webinars and, reading some history textbooks and coming up with lesson plan rough drafts, should I teach that subject. I'm also reading some teen and YA literature and driving my husband nuts with my, "Oooooooh! That would make a great component to xxxx lesson!" as I furiously scribble notes to myself to add to the plan at a later date.

    I'm glad I found your blog -- more PD ideas for my brain, and lots more ideas for when I have my own classroom! Thank you for putting all your info out there, and for your TpT resources; I bookmarked your shop in my account and will definitely be revisiting your pages!