Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Midterms-To Give or Not To Give?

Hey everyone in blogging land! As most of you know, I teach at a school that goes by semesters, not a year-long class. So I teach the same thing 2x a year, with two different sets of kids. I've been teaching here for 5 years, so I've taught English 10 TEN TIMES!!!!! It's like I've been teaching for 10 years, just at this school! LOL

Anyway, we are coming up on Midterms here before Spring Break next week! Woot woot! I can't wait :) So I don't really do Midterm tests.

The way I structure my class is that we take a unit test after each unit...so I don't really feel the need for a Midterm. What do you guys think?

I'm thinking about maybe making a really long paragraph with mistakes and roots in it and have them fix it. So it's not a huge, long test, but it covers skills we've been working on the last semester. Do you think this is enough to justify giving it to them? Maybe I won't even grade it, but just use it to see where they're at...an assessment of sorts.

Let me know what you think and enjoy your Spring Break!!!!!

Monday, March 16, 2015


I'm so SORRY I've been on a blogging hiatus these past two weeks! Things are crazy right now! Softball started and so we had tryouts, and then a whole whopping week later, our first game-which we won btw.

But with softball practices and games comes no time after school and therefore I've been really busy.

I know, I know, excuses. I'll try to be a better blogger, I swear! Sometimes life gets in the way and it overwhelms us.

Plus...I've been busy starting to plan a wedding!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's right, we're engaged. So I'm going to try very hard to balance school, softball, wedding planning, AND blogging. I can do it! I think I just need to make a schedule about when to blog. I didn't want to make it so formal like that, but I think for now I'll have to.

So please don't stop following...I'll be back...PROMISE!!!

Thanks everyone! :)

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Currently March

Yes February is a short month, but man that month flew by! Softball season has officially started [we had tryouts last week] and I'm looking forward to practices to see what these new girls can do! CIF Champs here we come!!

Once again, I'm going up with Farley to participate in the monthly Currently. So without further ado, here's March!

I am not the most patient person, so this last month has been a practice of that in more ways than one. We'll see what happens, and hopefully it happens soon :) Fingers crossed everyone! 

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget Farley's rule of 3 :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Teachers are Heroes!!

That's right! Teachers ARE heroes! We all had that teacher that we loved, or that inspired us to become a teacher ourselves.

TPT is honoring teachers today by having a Teachers are Heroes sale! 28% off when you enter the promo code: HEROES

[Design by 3AM Teacher]

So head on over to my TPT Store, and enjoy up to 28% off when you type in the promo code: HEROES at checkout :)

Also, comment below: Who is your Teacher Hero and why? I'd love to see your inspiration to be who you are :)

Monday, February 23, 2015

Binder Checks

It's been a while blog world :) Sorry I haven't blogged in a week :/ I've had a lot going on: we started a new semester; the kids turned in their first big project, which was the Novel Study SmashBook and I got excited about grading those; I had other, regular homework to grade; etc.

But I'm back, and with a cool update.

I decided to to Binder Checks this year in my Support class. Not only do they need support in English, but they also need help learning how to be and stay organized. These binder checks are a great way to do so :) I originally got the idea from my friend Liz who taught a Math support class, so I tweaked it for and English support class.

I do the Binder Check on Friday in class, while they're working on an independent activity. For now we are going to do the checks every Friday...once everyone starts getting good grades, then we'll change it to twice a month.

They set their binders on a row of desks so that they can't mess with it until their turn. Then I call up one student at a time--they bring their backpack, and grab their binder off the table. They also bring the laptop they've pulled up their grades on.

Here's the sheet we use: Binder Check sheet

So I shake out their binder and make sure their are no loose papers, and then I go down the list :)
I look for all the set up tabs for the different sections, and that it generally looks organized.

Then I check that their agenda is filled out for the week. Not just English class, but ALL classes.

Then once it's all tallied up, I leave comments [whether they got 100% or 50%].

This the second week we've done a check. I wanted to give them a week to get settled into their new classes and see what supplies they'd need and so on. So far it's been about split-half the kids get close to all points [or all points] and then half the kids are totally bombing it. I remind them everyday that we have a binder check on Friday and to start cleaning out their backpack ;) Hopefully it will start to sink in, they'll become more organized and it will become a habit, and then this will help with their grades in other classes as well.

This doesn't just have to be for support classes. You could do this in your mainstream class, just tweak it a bit for your needs; maybe only do it twice a month so as not to take up too much time. Do what works for you! 

Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

President's/Valentine's Day Sale

Happy Holidays! Sounds weird to say in February...but there are several holidays here in February, so we can say "Happy Holidays" :)

In honor of remembering our great Presidents, and in the fun of Valentine's Day, I'm throwing a SALE on my TPT Store! This sale will last from Friday the 13th through Monday the 16th.
This means that some of my items will only be $.85!!! Insane! Head on over to my store and load up on some helpful lessons and activities. 

I've also got a Valentine's freebie on my store too! A February Mad Lib :)

Have a great holiday weekend everyone!! :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Quick Tip Tuesday: Organizing Copies

Paper, paper, paper. It's all over our classrooms. We need to keep it organized so that we can have productive class sessions :) I think the biggest culprit is our weekly copies, so I am here to help you organize them with a few, quick tips.

Tip #1: Make your copies 1x per week.

I make all my copies for the coming week, on the Monday of every week. This allows me to organize everything for the week before we get too deep into it and I have other things to do. If you don't have time Monday morning, I suggest you stay late on Friday afternoon [when everyone else is itching to leave] and make your copies for the following week then. That's actually a great idea because you'll probably have the copier to yourself ;)

Tip #2: Have a designated location

I keep everything for a certain unit, in a binder; I mean everything. When I make copies, I hole-punch them, and they go in the binder, right in front of the original [which is in a sheet protector so I never give out the original]. By keeping them in the binder, I NEVER lose them :) I also don't have to remember where I put it for each class, or where I put extras if a kid needs another one...it's in the binder.

Tip #3: Be environmentally friendly

If you'd really like to cut down on your copy load, you can do one of two things. First, you can make one copy for each class, and put it up under the document camera, and the kids can write the info on their own notebook paper. This make add time to your activity because you're waiting for kids to copy it down, but you've saved your after-school copy time. Second, you can put the handout on your teacher website/page, and students can pull it up in class to look at it. We are fortunate to have a computer cart in each room with 30 Chrome-books. So if I need the kids to read an article and then write an analysis, instead of printing 100 copies of the article, I can put it on my wiki and the kids can read it there. Now, this doesn't allow for annotation, but that's a choice you can make.

Hope these little tips helped when it comes to organizing your copies. Let me know if you have any other ideas!! Feel free to share below in the comments for us all to see :)