August 19, 2017

What I Teach The First Week Of School

Hello teacher friends! School is starting back for most of us, our students come back the 28th, and we are all getting ready to welcome students back to our classrooms. Many of us struggle with how to teach that first week.

Some schools have a modified first day, or even first week (in Middle or High School) to get students accustomed to their new schedules. This can be both good and bad. Good: you don't really have to plan whole lessons and you can ease back into the school year. Bad: you lose a week of teaching time and can't get into a routine yet.

I changed the way I did things a few years back, after being a BTSA Support Provider. I used to hit the syllabus, hit the rules, and get to it. I thought I needed to be strict and regimented because I was young(er) and taught high school. I found that yes, the students followed directions and we got stuff done, but they all thought I was strict and "graded too hard." Not that I should really care what high-schoolers think of me, but it did bother me that they couldn't see that I was helping them and setting them up for success.

So I decided to switch it up. Here's the new routine:

Day One: "Getting to know you" activities

This helps the students see that I can have fun and that this will be a welcoming classroom.  With 80 minutes, I had time for 4 or 5 ice-breakers, which really helped students get to know one another and me.

Day Two: Refresher ice-breaker and syllabus
We do a few, one or two, or even a new one like the acrostic poem with the name, to help students remember each other's names, get comfortable with each other again. Then I pass out the syllabus and we go through it. Take it home, have the parents sign it, and that's their first homework assignment.

Day Three: Baseline test or writing sample
On this third day, we go around and do the name game to help everyone remember names, mostly me, and this acts as our warm up. At this point, we usually have a baseline test or I have them do an in-class writing sample to see where they're at. Make the prompt interesting; not, what I did over summer.  You can then use this sample, no need to grade, just give credit for doing, to help you spend the weekend adjusting your lesson plans.

Day Four: Start the Argument Writing Unit/Smashbook Unit

This day I go over the Smashbook unit and have them start cutting and gluing (yay kindergarten!) the labels into their interactive notebook. They have to pick their novel to read, at home, and I show them samples, etc.

The Argument Writing Unit and the SmashBook go together. The SmashBook is their homework, and the Writing Unit is the classwork. It's only 3 weeks long, and prepares them to write more effective essays. I saw TREMENDOUS improvement from years past on the quality of writing when I started using this unit.

We don't have a Day Five the first week, but the next week is jumping right into the Argument Writing Unit and check-ins for the SmashBook unit.

So that's my first week in a nutshell. Hopefully you can get some fun ideas and have a great first week. And as always, I'm curious what you all do!!! Let me know in the comments below!

July 31, 2017

TPT BTS Sale is here!!!!

Use the code: BTS2017 to receive 25% off my ENTIRE store!!!

Happy Back To School!

July 30, 2017

Bloom's Taxonomy Leveled Questions

Hello everyone! Finals are wrapping up so I have some time to work on teaching "stuff." The Year-long Warm-ups are doing well and someone even won TWO for free from the Instagram/Facebook giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered :)

This morning I was also able to upload a new product: Bloom's Taxonomy Leveled Questions for ANY Novel. 

I like the idea of leveled questions because it makes students work their way up from remembering simple facts, to actually analzying what they're reading. I also love that this doesn't have to be a "lesson plan." If you want to add these to your Lit Circles for those who finish their discussion early. Or perhaps this would be a good test review, or even an Exit Slip before they leave for the day. Your imagination is the limit :) There are even blank cards for each level so that you can use an expo marker to write in your own novel-specific question if you choose.

Check it out!

July 9, 2017

Christmas in July!

Good morning, everyone!

It's July and the heat is in full effect. So why not cool down with some Christmas?!

From the 10th to the 13th, I'll be hosting Christmas in July over at my TPT Store, and everything will be 20% off!! It's a great way to get prepared for the next school, and all you have to do is shop in your PJs :)

Even the Year-long Warm-Ups will be 20% off!!! What a steal :) Happy July everyone!

June 20, 2017

Teacher Toolbox Fun

I LOVE my Teacher Toolbox. I've posted about it before several years ago when I originally made it. Well, after years in the classroom and a move, it is time for a new look.
As you can see, several labels have fallen off or been misplaced. 

Keeping up with the latest trends, I decided to go with a cactus and succulent theme, which looks very fresh and clean with the white toolbox. 

I decided to laminate the front labels this time, using my new Scotch laminator that I love. I may even re-spray paint the toolbox a nice shade of green to mix it up :)

You too can have these cute labels for your toolbox! Just head over to my TPT Store and check out the Teacher Toolbox Labels. Enjoy!!!

June 18, 2017

Summer Planner & Instagram!

Hello everyone! My summer planner/organizer got a makeover and is ready for you to use! This planner will help you prepare for the next school year, and is designed to keep the stress to a minimum. By following the weekly checklists, you'll head into this next school year ready to take on a new class, and you won't be worried about lesson planning!

Here's a look at the planner:

And of course there are calendars for June, July, & August to keep you organized. 

I know I'm late to the party, but I decided to do an Instagram for my "brand." Just another fun way to connect with all of you that I can update a little more than the blog :) Check it out!

Hope you all are having a great summer so far, and I look forward to connecting with you via the gram ;)

May 30, 2017

Warm-ups for the Entire School Year: 225 prompts

It is finally finished!!!! I think I've been working on this project for 4+ months now (when I had a few free hours), and I am happy to say it is complete.

This download has 225 unique prompts to help students settle in to class and become focused on English. I know it is always a hassle to have to create new warm-ups everyday, and/or make sure you haven't repeated anything, and make sure it is somewhat standards-based. Well look no further :)

These warm-ups are standards-based, have been created by an English teacher and reviewed/edited by other English teachers, and will keep your students interested.

The warm-ups are in mostly black & white, and the parts that are in color still print well!

This download also comes with "teacher instructions" that explain the mindset behind the prompts and how to go about grading them.  So head on over to my TPT Store and check out the Year-long Prompts!!