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!

June 14, 2016

Planners and Planning and Perfection!

I know some of you are not ready to think about the next school year....but take it from a super organized person who never spent more than 30 minutes a week planning during the school want to!

The biggest tip I can give to teachers, new and seasoned alike, is plan over summer! You only need to spend a few weeks each summer going through your old lessons, switching things out, creating new ones, and filling in your plan book; this will allow you SO MUCH MORE TIME during the school year! I never spent more than 30 minutes a week planning my lessons during the school year-this is because I was organized!

This is NOT a humble brag...this is me sharing with you what WORKS!!! I used to see teachers stressing out, staying at school until 6pm trying to plan for the next day, or there at 6am trying to plan for the that same day! Now before yous tart yelling at me, yes, I know things change during the school day that may cause you to need to change your plans....I get it. I'm talking about IN GENERAL.

Another tip I give is to do your copying Friday after school FOR THE NEXT WEEK. I never ran into other teachers trying to get their copying done...the copier wasn't jammed, I wasn't rushing to get to my class. It's a great time to copy! That way too, if you're sick Monday morning, your copies are available for the sub :)

I use my Summer Planner/Back to School Planner to help over the summer. It has checklists and a timeline to help keep me on track. Then during the year, I use my Planner of choice to help keep me organized with each class. I've updated all my Planners in my TPT Store, and they're all ready for 2016-2017!

Take the first step...get your planner printed and bound [I use Office Depot] and decorated with Washi Tape and all that fun stuff :) That can be your "planning" time for this week!! You'll feel better knowing you're on the right track to organization!

 [I buy the plastic dividers and have Office Depot bind them in with my planner. I also have them laminate the front and back cover in their stiffest lamination.]

Here's all my Planner themes available at my TPT Store:
Pastel Hexagon
Watercolor Flowers
Grey/Teal Chevron
Turquoise & Black Arrows
Black, White, & Blue [Non-year specific]
Gold Polka Dot

And if you're just looking for a VERY basic planner, I have my Free Chalkboard Planner as well. It is very basic though...just the Planning pages, Notes pages, and Important Phone Numbers page.

And if you don't like any of my styles, THAT'S OK!!!!!! As long as you find a planner that works for you and helps keep you organized-that is the goal :)

June 1, 2016

Classroom Cleanout: What to Keep, What to Trash

Well you've made it! With all the end of the year drama like grades and yearbook signing, it's easy to forget about the little things.

If you're like our school district, you've got this one week left, and I've come up with a few lists for you to help clean out for your classroom in preparation for the new school year. Now, some schools make you clean out your classroom weather you're teaching there next year or not, but our school let us keep our stuff in our classroom. Regardless, here are some helpful "End of the Year" cleaning tips!

What to Keep:
1) Example Projects/Essays: NOT ALL OF THEM!!! I used to do that..oh this one is good, oh this one too!!! Here's my advice--For major projects, I would keep an A, B, and C example so students can not only see 3 different versions of a project, but then they get a sense of how you grade the project as well. Even if you have a rubric on day one, it still helps for them to see what they should strive for.

2) A few EXTRA copies of the books you read/teach in class. Undoubtedly a student will forget to bring it one day, and it's great to have an extra one so he/she can follow along.

3) ANYTHING you bought with your own money!!! Like sticky notes, electric pencil sharpeners, expo markers, etc.

4) Planning Binders/Lesson Plans: If you know you're going to teach the same information next year, keep them in your classroom. If you're not going to teach that particular unit next year, these would be something to keep either in a cabinet in your room that you don't access often, or, if you have room, at home in your home office.

5) Last thing to keep while cleaning out your classroom before the summer-Notes from the kiddos!! Find a cool way to keep them...either a picture book/scrapbook, a memory box, or a binder with page protectors. You'll need these around for a pick-me-up on those rough days :)

What to Trash:
1) Dried out markers, nubs of crayons, colored pencils that the lead just seems to fall out of! Have a TA go through them on the last few days of school; the ones that don't work well, just TOSS 'EM! If the school doesn't pay for your supplies, Target has their huge BTS sale in July, and there's always Dollar Tree :)

2) Spiral notebooks with only a few pages don't need them, and they'll just take up space. UNLESS you tear out the pages and put them in a bin of paper students can use throughout the year. Just keep it organized!

3) Student projects that they just left behind. Once you pick your 3 examples, throw the rest away. You really don't need more than 3 per me. I used to show several examples and it actually just overwhelmed the kids anyway.

4) Anything that doesn't work that you think you'll fix. I used to think I'd get around to fixing everything, and then I never did and just bought a new one anyway.

5) Anchor Charts that you made with the kids. You don't need to save it because the point is to do it with the kids. If you want a reminder of the chart, take a picture and store it on your computer in a folder labeled 'Anchor Charts". This way you have a reference, but not a bunch of rolled up or crumpled up papers.

Well, those are my helpful hints for cleaning out your classroom! I hope that you're able to clean out your room and stay organized over the summer. This will help you feel refreshed and less overwhelmed when you come back from break.

What would you all add to this list?? It's always so great to get everyone's opinion! :)