September 11, 2016

September 11-15th Anniversary

I just thought I'd share something my husband wrote on FB this morning:

Today marks the 15th anniversary of the tragic events that changed America and a majority of the people in it. Not since Dec 7th 1941, had our country seen and felt something like this. The day started with multiple events of cowardice and hatred, but ended with amazing displays of true heroics and sacrifice. 15 years ago, 19 cowards hijacked 4 separate planes and attacked this country on a clear and beautiful Tuesday morning. By the end of the day, America lost almost 3,000 people. Many of which were unsuspecting innocent people that were at work in the New York City and Washington, D.C. region or trying to travel by air on one of the 4 hijacked planes. But, others were first responders who answered the call made on that day and heroically risked their lives to try and save those directly impacted by the events on the 11th, many of which willingly paid the ultimate price and sacrificed their lives. These first responders were made up of thousands of Firefighters, Law Enforcement personnel, Port Authority personnel, and EMTs. These first responders, these heroes, didn't hesitate on this day and did exactly what they were trained to do. ......they saved lives, regardless of gender, race, and religion. All of this was irrelevant, they just knew that people were hurt and in danger and that they needed to do something about it.

At the end of the day, 343 FDNY, 23 NYPD , 37 Port Authority PD, and 8 EMTs heroically gave their lives trying to save the lives of others. Remember and honor these heroes today, as well the approx other 2,900 lives lost 15 years ago today. All of these people are heroes and deserve to never be forgotten!!!! I challenge everyone to do the research and read about the heroics on this day, 15 years ago. There were many and they need to be remembered. We need to remember how the country came together to not only support those involved, but to help recover and rebuild. That is what this country is about! Never forget!

Just some food for thought. Enjoy your friends and family today :)

September 8, 2016

New Job Update!

Hello blogger buddies! As many of you know from my Tales of Teaching in Heels Facebook page, I started a new job recently :)

I now work at the local college in their Writing Center, helping students write papers, giving presentations in classrooms about the Center and/or how to write an effective paper, or even help with resumes.  I have to tell you, I am LOVING this new job!!!!!!

Students come in on their one makes them come in. This is the great part about the job, the students want the help! On average I help around 3-4 students per day [I'm part time and so I only work 4 hours a day] and the assistance can range from MLA formatting, to organize a paper, or correct grammar, or even a complete paper overhaul.

Once I'm here a little longer, I'll be sharing with you the most common mistakes I see, and I'll share ideas with y'all on how we can combat that as middle school/high school teachers.

So far the thing I'm noticing the most is that the teachers are not clear on their expectations or directions. Now, as a teacher, I know that students often say I didn't tell them how to do it or what not...but I even looked on these kids' Blackboard accounts and the professor just says, "Write a 5 page paper about summer".... ummmmmmm....ok. Formatting? Theme? Dialogue? What do you want?!

Thus, my first helpful hint to all you teachers out there is to make sure your directions and expectations are clear. This will help students create an outline more easily and will give them an idea of where there paper is going.

Looking forward to sharing more with you guys as I experience more!!

August 20, 2016

#BestYearEver Bonus Sale!!!

Well TPT is at it again! The #BestYearEver was an awesome sale and a great way to get people excited about going back to school :) It was so great, in fact, that TPT is holding another Back To School SALE!!! Monday, August 22, 2016....ONE DAY ONLY :)

740 × 400 

If you use the code: OneDay at checkout, you can get 28% off ALL items in my TPT Store! How cool is that?

Here are some of my Must Have products that you might be interested in:

1) Common Core Novel Study SmashBook

2) Argument Writing Unit

3) Lesson Planner/Sub Binder

4) Cry The Beloved Country Unit

5) Standards-Based Novel Review: Speed Dating Style

6) Substitute Teacher Lesson Plans...that don't waste a day!!!

I love being organized for the new school year, so hopefully these discounted items will help you become more organized :) Make this year the #BestYearEver!!!!! 

August 16, 2016

Classroom Must Haves: I Can't Picture Myself Teaching Without...

Hello all! Back To School is upon us and I see teachers getting their classrooms ready, attending "professional development" meetings, staff meetings, etc.  Wouldn't it be nice to know what other teachers can't live without in their classrooms? Maybe you'd get some great ideas for this year!

Well Create-Teach-Share is having a giveaway and joining others in talking about what they can't picture themselves teaching without! I'm not doing this to join the giveaway or anything [they're upper elementary], just thought it would be a great way to share with others what I utilize in my classroom, and see what YOU can't live without in yours!!

[from Create-Teach-Share]

So, my must have classroom supply is the annotation stickers I have students use if they're borrowing a school book! I love to have students annotate/perform close readings of the novels we read because I truly believe it enhances comprehension and analyzing skills. 
 These are Avery See-Through sticky notes. They're big arrows, though I've seen students cut them in half to make better use of them.  These sticky notes allow students to annotate on the novel, and still see the text underneath so they don't have to lift up a sticky note every time we read or re-read a passage. 

Number 2 is my must have book for teaching. Recently, I found that writing has been the biggest struggle for students. I found a wonderful book that I incorporated in my Argument Writing Unit called,  Teaching Argument Writing by George Hillocks, Jr. 

 I loved the insight this book provided and with my Argument Writing Unit, I really felt like the students made huge strides in their writing skills!

I LOVE using my SmashBook to engage students in novels! I never had so many students tell me they enjoyed an assignment more :) I actually use this resource as their "homework" while I'm teaching the Argument Writing unit because I still want them to be reading as well. It's a perfect combination :) 

 [creative page for identifying figurative language]

 [learning to analyze characters/character development]

And lastly, my must have classroom freebie. When I started teaching annotation, I got a lot of students write: 'cool', 'weird', 'why?'...not exactly what I was looking for [even though we had done an extensive lesson about how to annotate]. So I created a bookmark for the students: this bookmark reminds them how to annotate/close read!

 I noticed much more extensive and deeper annotations after passing out the bookmarks. Turns out the students didn't want to have to look back at their notes to see what to annotate for, so they just "made stuff up". While I didn't want to encourage the "laziness", I did want to encourage annotation, so this was a compromise I made. 

You can get them for free HERE at my TPT Store

AFTER you download my freebie, COMMENT on this page to let us know what you can't live without while teaching :) I'd love to see what your resources are, and I'm sure others would love to know too!

August 4, 2016

Back To School & Open House Bundle

It's August...which means we go back to school toward the end of the month...some of you even sooner! [sorry about that] And with the start of school comes Back To School and Open House.

[photo from:]

I remember my first year-I didn't know what to say, if I should let them ask questions, if I should tell them I was a first year teacher...yikes!

I wish I had a guide that would have helped me through it or at least given me some ideas. I don't think Pinterest was big 8 years ago :/

So I am giving you what I wish I had...A How To Guide and Ideas bundle!!!

This download contains:
-A How To Guide and ideas....and even suggestions on what to talk about!
-Parents' Sign Up Sheets
-Parent Info Card
-Classroom Donations take-homes
The Back To School and Open House Bundle is in Word and PDF format, and even contains a few .jpegs. Even if you're a pro and you've been doing this 10+ years, sometimes it's nice to have something pre-made and different. Give it a try and let me know how your Back To School Night or Open House went!

July 30, 2016

Back 2 School Sale!!!

It's that time again...Back2School! I love back to school time; all the cute decorations, the supplies on sale, the fresh ideas, and renewed energy :)

Join me this August 1st & 2nd for the TPT Back to School Sale!

740 × 400

Head on over to my TPT Store and enjoy 28% off when you enter the code: BESTYEAR at checkout! This can be your best year ever, especially with the right lesson plans and engaging ideas.

Need a planner that fits your Middle or High School schedule? I've got that! There are just some things that secondary teachers don't need...why buy a planner designed for an elementary teacher?

Need some engaging unit plans that utilize informational texts? I've got that! Plus all my Unit Plans have that embedded in them too!

So head on over and get ready for BEST YEAR EVER!!!!

July 3, 2016

Happy 4th & A Sale

Have a wonderful weekend everyone! And don't forget what this weekend is all about...Our Freedom; and we only have this freedom because a select few are willing to fight for it.

I'm also holding a 15% off sale over at my TPT Store to help you get ready for this next school year!! Today and tomorrow only! [July 3-4]

Lots of organizational helpers: Planners, Posters, Sub planners, To Do Lists, etc.
Lots of great units: Cry, The Beloved Country, Argument Writing, SmashBook, Poetry, Fahrenheit 451
Lots of great freebies too: First Day Of School BINGO, Student Information Sheet, Annotation Bookmarks
So head on over and get energized for this next school year, and save 15% while doing it!