December 28, 2012

Blog Domain Name for Christmas!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, it's been a hectic month! My sister had her baby boy, school ended, and Christmas! And in the midst of all that, my sister and her husband still got me an incredible Christmas gift: they bought me the domain name for my blog! Cool huh?! They even made a cute little certificate with the heels border on the top and bottom of the page :)

So now, people can just type in and it will redirect to It's cool because there are so many blog generators out there, that sometimes people forget to type in the "blogspot" part. Now there's no confusion.

What a great gift and I can't wait to see it start working!
*Has anyone else done this? Have you noticed a difference in your blog attendance or visitors?

I hope everyone had a blessed Christmas and is enjoying their vacations :) I may or may not post again before New Year's, so if I don't...Have a great New Year!!!!

December 14, 2012

50 by the end of the Year?!

I'm so excited about how my following has grown! I love the fact that I can share ideas with so many other teachers, and get ideas from them too! Well I'm hoping I can get 50 followers by the end of the year....that would be so exciting for me! I'm always looking to expand the network of teachers so we can learn and grow, all to help the kids.

I've seen so many people doing giveaways when they reach a certain number of followers, and this sounds like an awesome idea. Here's a problem though, everything I put on TPT is it's not like you'd be getting a goodie really. And since this is about thanking those who follow me, I'd thought I'd put it out there:

What would people like to see as a prize??

I've been looking on some other blogs and getting some ideas, but this is about you guys!! So tell me something that would be fun to get!

Hoping to make it to 50,

December 11, 2012

Cheap Staff Christmas Gifts!!!

I love the Dollar Tree! So many great things for $1!! I have a bunch of co-workers at school that I am close with, at school, and my English department that I wanted to get gifts for this year. But...I am not made of money...surprise right?!

I saw a great idea, on Pinterest, for an idea involving whisks [and yes, I checked the spelling and this is the proper way to spell it when referring to this gift; not wisk].

So I bought a bunch of whisks at the Dollar Tree, and Hershey kisses. Stuff the kisses inside the whisk, and viola! A great gift! The best part is the tag though, that really makes the gift. The tag say "Whisking you a Merry Kissmas" cute! I finished the gift by wrapping clear gifting paper around the whisk and tying the tag to it with a bow of ribbons. So great and only cost about $1.25 per person.

At Christmas time I like to thank all the people at the school who work hard but aren't always thanked. So this is my way of being able to do so.

These aren't the greatest pics, took them last night with my cell phone, but you get the point!

And here is the google docs link to the tags for the whisks. I just put "Whisking you a Merry Kissmas! From,     " and left a blank space for you to sign your name. I cut mine out with cute decorative scissors, but if you don't have those that's fine!

Enjoy...spread the cheer!

December 5, 2012

A-Z Alphabet Theme/Motif Game

Test time!! My students have a test on Black Boy tomorrow, and to help study I created a study guide. I also however, created a game! I tried this once 5 years ago in student teaching, but hadn't used it since. We did it today and the kids had so much fun!!

First, I split the desks up and made an aisle up the middle of my classroom which also created two teams.
Second, I made the posters for the students to write on and covered the title of the poster until we played the game [I didn't want them distracted by thinking about words].

1) Only one person per team at a time writing down a word
2) Students must write words in alphabetical order: 1st person must do A, 2nd must do B, etc.
3) NO shouting out answers to the person writing, if you need to help the person, whisper it up the line like "telephone" :)
4) First team done wins, IF the teacher approves all the themes/motifs written the other team should keep going in case the first team isn't approved!
*I gave the winning team 2 extra credit points on their test

Check out the pics...we had fun!!!

Letters X, Y, and Z are obviously the I was a little easier on them. But Xi means peace in Chinese and a student came up with it :) Youth and Zeal work, so YAY!!!

Try out this game and see if your kids like it :)

December 2, 2012

December Currently

Yay it's time for a new Currently!! I'm so glad I found Oh' Boy 4th Grade's blog!!!! I love that Farley added in the Random Acts of Kindness. I'd seen this on another blog the other day and it really hit me that the random acts of kindness are sort of part of the true meaning of Christmas I'm going to try to share some random acts this month in the spirit of Christmas. Well here it goes, hope you enjoy.

Have a great December, and remember to spread the joy of Random Acts of Kindness.

November 30, 2012

Persuasive Peer Editing Sheet-FREEBIE

Another FREEBIE!!!

I made one of these for my Narrative Writing assignment my students did last month, and it turned out to be very helpful. So I have now tweaked and transformed this peer editing sheet to fit a Persuasive paper. Hope you find it useful!!

Click here to access my TPT Store to download this FREE Peer Editing Sheet utilizing the 6 Traits of Writing.

Happy Revisioning!

November 28, 2012

Holiday Themed Flashcards-FREEBIE

Want to make studying more fun?? Create a theme, throw a picture on there, and for some reason the students believe it really is more fun to study :)

We have a roots quiz coming up next week, so I made some flashcards to help my students study. I left the words off the flashcards because they're in high school and can write in their own roots. Plus, this way I can re-use them :)

Each student will be given 10 flashcards, and they can use them this weekend to study.

Want them?! All you need to do is click on the link below, print them out, copy, and cut them apart. I'm leaving the Root and the Definition section together and just folding down the middle to make a front/back flashcard. So technically you only need to cut out 4 rectangles. Make sense? I hope so :/

To download these FREE flashcards, head on over to my TPT Store and click away!

Happy Studying!

November 25, 2012

How to turn 1st into 3rd Person- Poster FREEBIE

When writing papers, almost all of my students use first person at some point or another. I've tried explaining the concept that since their name is on the paper, they don't have to say "I think" in every paragraph...but for some, that concept just doesn't seem to stick.

I'm constantly giving the same suggestions to students, I mean constantly. So to save my voice and my sanity, I created a fun little poster to help them [and let's face it, me] out. I plan on enlarging the poster and hanging it in my classroom so it's VERY easy to see :) I may also hand it out to my English Support class as just a handout.

The pic above is just the top half of the poster. Go to my TPT store to download this FREEBIE Poster and enjoy!

Any other fun suggestions for struggles along this line? Any would be appreciated :)


November 24, 2012

Liebster Award!

I've been nominated for a Liebster Award...Awesome! The Liebster Award is given by bloggers to up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers to let them know they're appreciated. Well I certainly feel appreciated!! :) Thank you to Covered in Glitter and Glue for nominating me!!

The Liebster Rules:
- You must post 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
- Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
- Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
- No tag back (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you!)

 11 Random Things about Myself:
1. I am legally blind without my contacts or glasses [literally- 750/20]
2. I am dating a military jet pilot but am scared to fly [IRONY]
3. I have always wanted to teach, but waited a few years after college to start so I'd be a little older when it came to teaching high school
4. I've taught every grade I'm licensed for [7-12]
5. I have a brother and a sister, both younger
6. One of my best friend's has a 3yo, and 8month old twins...I love being an "auntie" to them!!!!
7. I'm going to be a REAL auntie when my sister has her baby next month
8. I make the best Pumpkin bread ever...seriously
9. I love decorating for ALL holidays
10. I love Coach anything!!!
11. I really do teach in high heels....I think I have over 60 pairs of shoes :)

11 Questions to answer from Covered in Glitter and Glue:
1.  What is your favorite subject to teach?
English!! Only thing I'm credentialed in, but I would love to do ASL as well.
2.  Favorite holiday tradition?
My family always bakes banana bread for our neighbors at Christmas.
3.  Favorite book to read to your class?
Well, since I teach high school, I don't really read "to my class", but TKAM is great, as is Night.
4.  Favorite guilty pleasure reality show?
New One: Married to the Army: Alaska [on Oprah's new network]
5.  Favorite movie?
Top Gun
6.  What is your best childhood memory?
So many good ones to choose from, not sure I can pick the "best"
7.  What is your least favorite household chore?
Cleaning the shower and toilets :(
8.  What are you afraid of?
Flying and being kidnapped [odd, I know]
9.  Salty or sweet?
10.  Where is your ideal vacation spot?
I am dying to go to Hawaii
11.  What sparked your interest in blogging?
I couldn't find a lot of high school blogs, and wanted to start a place where we could all share ideas and lessons and build support for each other!

11 Questions for my Nominees:
1. How long have you been teaching?
2. Do you have siblings?
3. How many times have you moved?
4. Have you taught all the grades your credentialed for?
5. What is your favorite dessert?
6. Why did you start your blog specifically?
7. Do you like blogs that talk about random things, or just blogs that give away free printables and school "stuff"?
8. What is your professional goal for the next 5 years?
9. What size shoe do you wear? :)
10. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
11. What is your favorite thing about teaching? 

11 Awesome Blogs to Nominate:

Thanks again so much! Have a wonderful time blogging everyone!!

November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Send Off!!

I love making crafts....some might say I'm a "crafty" person....but I teach high school. So I don't get to do the fun crafts like "trace your hand and make it a turkey" card. Fortunately, I LOVE to bake...and what high schooler won't take free food?!

So to celebrate going on Thanksgiving Break, and because they actually sort of had a rough jigsaw assignment, I told all my classes, yup, ALL, that I would make them Pumpkin Pancakes and Pumpkin Bread/Muffins for class on Friday.

So Thursday night I drove around like a chicken with it's head cut off [simile and idiom, go English teacher] looking for all these supplies, driving to my parents' house to steal the griddle, and making a million loaves of pumpkin bread [hyperbole-it was really a million, more like a hundred, but it felt like a million].

The result? I am now the "best teacher ever" according to my students :) Anyway, I think we all had fun with it, and they still worked the entire class period, which really surprised me!

[Me getting ready to bake over 120 pancakes...]

[...and the pumpkin muffins & pumpkin bread slices I baked the night before. And to the left of the pic is the giant thing of syrup I bought :)]

Overall a great last day of school before break. 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving Break! We deserve it!!! :)

November 11, 2012

Western Showdown!!!

As a warm up everyday, my students come in and write down the root and example word of the day; together we come up with example words and share out. They all have a Roots Notebook that I made for them, and they use this to keep track of the 10 roots that will be on that week's quiz. Looks something like this:

Root                    Definition                     Example Words
Chron                  Time                             Chronological, Chronology, Anachronistic

Normally I make a practice quiz for them to take to study for the quiz. But when we're in the Black Boy unit, we have a little fun! Black Boy is set in the south, and the main character's uncle owns a saloon. So we had a little Roots Showdown, or Roots Shootout technically. I first learned about this from the QLN workshop I've been to the last two years...I just add my own touches. It's a fun game that the students LOVE, and it's a great way to practice for the quiz.

Here's how it works:
  • Student's go up two at a time, and I give them plastic, orange guns
  • They stand back to back
  • As I count to 3, they take 3 steps away from each other, just like a shootout
  • I then say the Root word
  • Whoever turns around first, shoots, and says the definition of the root....WINS that round!
  • The winner stays up, and the next opponent steps up
  • Whoever stays up the longest, wins. 
I bring in prizes, I pour them RootBeer, it's a ton of fun. The students this year even clapped and chanted for the winner....yes, high schoolers got excited about school...hahahaahha, I win! :)
Here's a pic of how I decorate the doorway to set the scene:
I forgot to take pictures of the RootBeer, and didn't want to take pics of the kids [showing their faces], so the door is all you get :)

But this game could work with anything: Vocab, Spelling, Parts of Speech, even for other subjects as well. Try it out and see for yourself how into the kids get!

See, Learning is Fun!

November 10, 2012

Top 10 Things I'm Thankful For-Link up!

I'm linking up with Stories by Storie for this next post! I love Fall and here are the top ten things I'm thankful for.
Head on over and link up too!!!!

What are you thankful for?

November 9, 2012

Mad Libs-nouns, verbs, adjectives FREEBIE

I love creating new little activities for my English Support class. I keep trying to come up with ways to make this class fun and not a punishment or "stupid kid" class. I'm using songs to find figurative language and nouns, verbs, & adjectives, which I'm hoping goes over really well.

I also remembered how much fun I used to have making up and filling in silly Mad Libs! So I decided to create one using nouns, verbs, and adjectives. Hopefully the kids have fun creating a silly story, while still mastering the grammar skills they need :)

Click the link to download this activity sheet from my TPT Store!

Happy Mad Libbing!!

November 6, 2012

November Currently!

Loving the new Currently over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade! I've always seen people filling these out and I decided I had to join up with the fun! So here's my November Currently...can't wait for the December one :)

Hope to find you all well!

Be Thankful,

November 4, 2012

My Fabulous New Blog Design!

I am soooooo in love with my new blog design! It reflects teaching in heels so well and is just so me! Erin over at Creating & Designing hit the nail on the head-Perfect Erin!

If anybody is looking for good design work, you really should head over to her blog and check her out. She was so easy to work with, and did a wonderful job on my blog. Her prices are VERY reasonable and her work is wonderful.

I'm so excited to have my own button now too!!! All the bloggers I see have one, and now I do too....Love it! So please grab my button and put it on your page for easy access to my blog! Hopefully this new look will excite people and will drum up some new followers! I'd love to have more followers sharing comments and ideas about how to make our classrooms the best we can have them!

Thanks so much again to Erin for all her hard work to make my blog just PERFECT for me :)

November 1, 2012

Teachers are Superheroes!!

It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Super Teacher!!

It's homecoming week at our high school, and our theme this year is superheroes. So today's spirit dress up day was to come dressed like a superhero. So I created my own...Super Teacher! I made the shirt last night out of a plain t-shirt and puffy paint, had the cape from an old vampire Halloween costume, and made the cuffs from Starbucks' coffee sleeves. And of course, I had to wear my red heels....I am the teacher teaching in heels :)

My final product....Super Teacher!

Close up of the shirt from last night. A bad pic, sorry :(

So thanks all you teachers out truly are Superheroes!!!!!

Use your powers for good,
Ms. W

Literary Terms Alphabet-Power Point FREEBIE

Literary Terms....we've all had to teach them, and I bet we've all tried the same worksheets. While I do find merit in having to research and then write down the definitions and such to the different terms, I thought this could be a fun way to learn the terms as well.

Knowing what these literary terms mean will help the students be able to have deeper discussions, do well on state tests, and succeed in college. So many of these terms are generally taught in 9th grade, but often we teach them, only using a few throughout the year. And then I need to "review" them again in 10th grade, as I'm sure the 11th grade teacher needs to do as well, etc.

Maybe a different format, a visual format, will help sink some of these terms into their forgetful brains :)

Click here to see my TPT Store for the Power Point...It's FREE!

Feel free to use as is or edit as needed. However, please do give me credit, since it's free, by saying "Adapted from Stephanie Wolters" when showing in your classroom :)

Good luck!!
Ms. W

October 27, 2012

Pink October!

Not only am I an English teacher, but I'm a cheer coach too. One of the traditions that all schools do is wear pink at the October games for breast cancer awareness this year, we did! I finally got enough money in the budget, and ordered ahead of time, all the goodies we needed. So my girls are wearing pink bows, pink shoelaces, and using pink poms! It's so great to bring awareness to such a great cause...excited to be doing our part!

Think Pink!
Ms. W

October 23, 2012

Computer Cart in my own Classroom!

Our school does not have a computer lab or library where our students can go to work on research projects or work on their papers. We do however, have our own computer carts! Each cart has 20 computers, which used to be more than enough. Now, however, our class size has grown to average 25 [no complaints, I know :)] so we don't have enough computers.

Anyway, I always take very good care of the computers, follow the rules about taking ID cards in exchange for a computers, etc. I report every time something is wrong with a computer and it gets fixed fairly quickly. HOWEVER, other teachers have been coming to borrow that we have more students, we have more teachers, but no more money for more computers. So I let them borrow them because I assume they'll take care of the computers the same way I would. This has turned out to be mostly true.

As time has gone on, the teachers have let the kids come over to get the computers, and the cart has never looked the same. I don't have time, while teaching my own class, to help their kids take care of the cart properly. So I finally created a few signs. Don't know why it took me so long!!

So here is my computer cart with the new signs on it. I even took pictures of what the cart looks like nice and clean when taken care of properly. Hopefully this will save me some time organizing the cart in the future :)

Thanks for reading!
Ms. W

October 19, 2012

Five Star Blogger Challenge!

I decided to take the 5-Star Blogger challenge and I think I passed!! I'm proud to provide a blog that contains relevant information, doesn't always promote buying products, and can create a sense of community amongst teachers.

I hope you all continue to enjoy reading my blog and sharing your ideas with me!!! I love getting feedback and new ideas :)

Have a great weekend!

5-Star Blogger
Ms. W

October 17, 2012

Narrative Peer Revisioning FREEBIE!!

Another FREEBIE!! I'm on a roll!

We are wrapping up our Holocaust unit, and will be writing an autobiographical/narrative piece. The students are going to go to the Museum of Tolerance website and choose a child of the Holocaust to "become". They will then write a 2-3 page narrative in the first person point of view of that child-a sort of day in the life of.

Instead of doing a normal Peer Revisioning, where we check the thesis and the quotes, I wanted to focus more on the story that was being told. There are certain requirements for the paper, such as dialogue, metaphors or similes or foreshadowing, etc. So this checklist has the students not only check to see if the required elements are there, but to engage with the paper too. The peer revisioners need to write down certain key items from the paper to show that they can label and understand the elements.

Click here to access this freebie on my TPT store!

Happy Revisioning,
Ms. W

October 16, 2012

Expanding Sentences FREEBIE

Another FREEBIE!! So excited to have another freebie to offer :)

In the spring I am piloting my English Support class, and one of the items we will be working on is expanding our writing skills. So this is a cute little worksheet that will help the kids learn how to create a longer sentence using details such as verbs, adjectives, and overall imagery. After this activity, I'll have them do an Object write...just like I do with college prep....but now they'll be better equipped with some tools and experience.

Click here for the FREEBIE at my TPT store!

What other techniques do you think would work well with my English Support class for teaching writing?

Happy Writing,
Ms. W

October 14, 2012

Fun Goodies

A few fun goodies for today!

First of all, thanks to Heather's Heart for being my 30th follower!! I'm so excited to begin this blogging journey and appreciate everyone who has helped support me along the way and became a follower :) My goal for this blog is to create a venue where people can create and share middle school and high school ideas; there's few good resources out there and I'm hoping to create a spot where we can grow together as educators!

Second, I'm sooooooooooo [yes, that many o's] excited for my new blog design that Erin over at Creating & Designing is creating for me!! I can't wait to see what she came up with based off my completed questionnaire...can't wait!!! I'm hoping the snazzy new design will draw in some other followers too ;)

And Lastly, I just had to post this picture I saw on Pinterest because it is my LIFE!!!!!!! If only the students actually read my comments on their papers!

Have a great day!!

Ms. W

October 13, 2012

Symbolism Projects & FREEBIE!

A few weeks ago I posted the video from So You Think You Can Dance regarding the Holocaust piece. We are coming to the end of our Holocaust unit, and it is time for the project and paper. I love this project for a few reasons: 1) It really solidifies for the kids what a symbol is; 2) The projects get better and better every year; and 3) The students really like this project--they get so into it and become very passionate about their work.

Part of why I love this project is the fact that the students have to create their own symbol. This is SUCH a struggle for a lot of students, but by the end of the project, they truly know what a symbol is. A lot of the projects start out as a literal representation, and so the students spend many hours narrowing down what concept they are trying to get across to the viewer, and learning how to create a non-literal piece.

Here are some of the examples I got this week!!

The puppet master and the heart are my favorite. Such detail and are went into those projects.

And now for the FREEBIE! I've created a page with the directions for the project; this handout also has a couple of these examples on it so the kids can get a good idea of where to start! Click on the link for my TPT Store to get this FREEBIE!

Enjoy and hope you find it useful,
Ms. W

October 9, 2012

Descriptive Writing

As the final paper for the Holocaust unit, the students write a narrative. I think this unit lends itself very well to a creative writing piece, as opposed to a persuasive paper or response to literature. The students go onto the Museum of Tolerance website and choose a child of the Holocaust that they would like to "become" for the writing unit. They then write a first person narrative-sort of a day in the life of.

I encourage the students, well require is a better word, to have a lot of descriptive writing and figurative language in their piece. As a pre-writing activity, a week before we start the paper, I have the students bring an object to class. I don't tell them anything about it, except that they need to bring an object to class. We then participate in a descriptive writing session for 15 minutes.

The honors classes don't need too much in the way of "prompting", but for my college prep class, I created this poster to help them get started.
Using the 5 Senses it a great way to "jog" the memory of the kids of how to create a descriptive writing piece. This activity is a great way to start preparing the students for writing the Holocaust narrative next week.

Any other tips for descriptive writing?

Ms. W

October 3, 2012

Book Heaven!

I saw this picture on, where else, Pinterest the other day and I about passed out. How amazing would it be to have this close to where you live? Or in your house?? I think every English teacher would be so excited to have the opportunity to visit this building and browse the many titles that create this work of art.

Go love on some books,
Ms. W

September 30, 2012

Grading Papers

Grading on the weekends? Why yes, that is my life as an English teacher. Not one day after the kids turned in their Animal Farm persuasive papers, did a student ask me if I was done grading them. Ummmm....yeah...I stayed up all night just to get your papers graded so you could look at the grade and not the comments I spent 20 minutes writing.

I am however trying to get them back within a week so that for those students who actually do read the comments, they can have time to adjust before the next paper. Since we're on an accelerated program, one week is like 2 or 3 in a year-long class.

One thing you'll notice from the picture below is that I use a very detailed rubric when grading papers. This gives the students a very clear picture of what they need to work on, and helps me to explain their grade. It's easy on me too because when a parent has a question about a grade, I can show them how detailed the rubric is and how it's NOT subjective.

So this was my weekend, and I'm still not done...but I needed a break so I thought I'd get back to the blog :)

Have a great week!
Ms. W

September 25, 2012

Holocaust Unit

The Holocaust unit has always been my favorite to teach. It's such a meaningful, sad, touching subject to discuss and learn about, and the students really get into it. My problem has always been that because it's such a serious topic, the class gets a little long and serious.

During other units, I'm cracking jokes, we play music, we have a good time while learning. I want that same feeling with the Holocaust unit, but it's not appropriate to have jokes going on during this time. So I was trying to think of another way to make the lessons engaging.

The other night I was watching the finale of So You Think You Can Dance [LOVE] and they replayed a dance routine that I had somehow missed during the season. The routine was entitled "Eli, Eli"-a contemporary number about the Holocaust. How PERFECT is that timing?!

I shared this idea of showing the video as an opener to the unit with my student teacher, and she loved it. But she took it to a whole other level! We/she's going to show either a clip or piece of art at the beginning of class everyday and have the students journal about that as our Journal Write for the day. I normally have fun, crazy prompts like: What would you do if you were a fish for a day? Or Persuade me why students should get free Starbucks [use Pathos, Ethos, or Logos].

I am so excited about this idea and can't wait to start the unit tomorrow! So here's the clip of the dance routine from So You Think You Can Dance.

Be moved,
Ms. W

September 22, 2012

Peer Revisioning

One of the best ways I know to improve a paper is to peer edit. I have always loved when people looked over my paper before I turned it in for a grade. Well now I do this with my high schoolers. At first, the peer editing process was helpful for some and not for others...and this made me think about how I could make it work for ALL the students.

I decided that my peer editing needed some updating. Now that our department is using the common language of the 6 Traits of Writing, I decided to update my peer editing using those traits. I also changed the name to Peer Revisioning [our department chair uses this with her freshmen] because it has a different meaning. We're not just editing for spelling and commas, we're creating a new 'vision' for our we're Revisioning!

I created 6 rounds for the peer revisioning, as seen in the picture below. You might notice that the sixth round is "Read Aloud" instead of convention. This is because I tell the students to do conventions with every round, especially if they've "finished" revisioning for that round and think they have nothing left to do :)
I have found that this new way to Peer Revise has worked really well and has been helpful for ALL students. I love when new ideas work!

How do you peer edit? I'd love some other ideas too!

Happy Revisioning,
Ms. W

September 17, 2012

Lunchbox fun!

Not that we ever have time to eat lunch as teachers, but I found a cool lunchbox for adults!
This website, has great lunchbox ideas for adults and kids! I ordered this version for a few reasons: It will fit in the mini fridge that three of us teachers share; It has three separate sections [main course, and two small sides] which will hopefully remind me to have a veggie and a fruit; They're dishwasher safe!!!!!!

So you can see from the picture that the options for packing a lunch are endless. Here's a few I came up with that I'm excited to try and maybe I'll pack healthy lunches now!:
1) A sandwich, carrots, and strawberries
2) Pita bread, meat, and hummus and/or veggies [which could be used with or without the pita]
3) A salad, side of meat, and a dessert :-)
4) Pasta, veggies, and a slice of garlic bread [get the carbs out of the way at lunch-more time to work them off]
5) Just throw some random stuff in spots that they fit into! LOL

Anyway, thought I'd share this great tip...packing your own lunch can save you money too since teachers are usually on a budget...if you're like me and spend your money on the kiddos :-)

Have a great week!!!
Ms. W

September 13, 2012

Dialectical Journals

Have you ever had to go back and look for quotations when writing a paper? It takes so much time and effort, and the kids eventually give up and just write a 'version' of what they think is a quote and throw a random page number on there.

That's why I have my students keep Dialectical Journals while we're reading. Dialectical Journals are great because they help the students keep track of quotations they could use in their final paper. Before we start keeping track of journals, we go through them together on the flipchart.
[Please forgive my awful handwriting!]

They put the quote on the left column with the page number afterward in proper MLA format. On the right side, we do a few sentences of analysis. The tricky part is to make sure they understand the difference between analysis and summary. Analysis always ties the quotation back to the thesis/prompt. I usually have them find 10 quotations that address the prompt throughout the novel, and then that gives them several to chose from when it comes time for the paper. This saves time having to look back through the novel later!

Hope this is a helpful tip for you!
Ms. W

September 10, 2012

Animal Farm Picture Book

I love throwing in some fun and creating activities for my 10th graders. There's a kindergartener inside us all, and sometimes it's fun to let him/her out :)

When teaching my Animal Farm [George Orwell] unit, we talk about a lot of heavy topics. So this picture book activity is a way to make the unit be a little more light-hearted. It's also a very good formative assessment tool for me too. The students create a picture book of Animal Farm, choosing two main ideas from each chapter, and represent them with a quotation. They also draw a picture for each event as well. So the finished product is a 20 page picture book that, if done correctly, will accurately represent the novel, and be a great study tool for them!

I provided the link to my TPT Store so you can download the FREE assignment!

Click Here to access my TPT store

Ms. W

September 8, 2012

Connecting Football with the Classroom!

While I do teach English and that occupies all my time, I somehow manage to coach cheer as well. While this post isn't totally classroom related, I have to share!!!

Our school won our first JV game yesterday, and our Varsity game tonight! My cheerleaders did great, proving that all our hard work and headaches must have paid off :)

*On a school related note, I have found that connecting with the football players and cheering at the games for them, and then analyzing the plays on Monday, has really helped me connect with them in the classroom. They're participating in class, they are asking questions, and trying their best. I think they like that I take an interest in what they do, and that I'm proud of their efforts.
And of course this is true with any extra curricular that we as teachers attend...the kids love to see us support them!!!!

Happy Weekend!!!
Ms. W

September 3, 2012

Common Core Benchmarks

This year our school is going through another WASC Accreditation and so we're focusing a lot on benchmark exams. We didn't have benchmarks in the past because we were such a small school, but now that we're increasing in numbers, we want to make sure that all our students are receiving the same level of instruction.

We also decided to make our benchmark exams align with the new Common Core standards. Since these standards will be coming into play in 2014-2015, we thought it'd be smart to create our benchmarks align with them now. This will give us a year or two to start incorporating the common core standards and become familiar with using them to guide our teaching.

Starting last school year our departments started creating the benchmark exams, and we finally finished! Even though I'm not the department chair, I love organizing and designing cute stuff, so I offered to put all the English benchmark tests for each grade in a binder. This will provide easy access for the WASC people when they want to see proof of our benchmarks!

Love my cute Common Core Benchmark binder!!

Comment Starter: Do you guys do benchmark assessments? Are yours Common Core aligned?

Have a great day back from your 3-day weekend!
Ms. W

August 30, 2012

Great Freebie Find!

I was searching blogs today and came across this great find! Since I teach writing, that also means I teach 'Revisioning' or editing as it's known. Our school has been focusing a lot on using the common language of the 6 Traits of Writing for a couple of years now, and this editing sheet really drives that language home. I feel like I could use one sheet, or all three; depends on how long I have for editing. Awesome! Thanks 3 AM Teacher [here's the original post]!!

Click here to go to her TPT store and download her freebie editing sheet.

Ms. W

August 29, 2012

UCLA Duct Tape!!

I hung out with my good friend Liz this weekend and we had fun with duct tape! We made file folder boxes and a "No Name" box for her classroom. And we used...UCLA duct tape! She's a UCLA grad and loves her school, so why not have fun with it! She found the duct tape at Walmart and Walmart online. Look at the fun we had!
This could be cool for the college center at a high school...get the kids interested in different schools :)

Ms. W

August 26, 2012

An apple for the teacher!

Not entirely school related, but a cute post nonetheless :) I hadn't filled my nails in almost 4 weeks and needed to get them done before school starts! I've been so busy getting ready, I just hadn't found the time. So I went to my nail salon that does a fabulous job, Toes on Melrose, and decided to get a cute design on my left ring finger for the first day of school! Just thought it'd be something fun.
Have a great first week back at school!!

Ms. W

August 22, 2012

Thank you cards

How many of us would LOVE a Starbucks gift card?? I know I would :) I have so many ladies in the front office that help me daily with teaching and coaching cheer...I need to thank them daily! I say thank you all the time, and write cute little thank you cards too. But when I saw this fun way of doing a thank you card, I instantly became obsessed!!! I made 10 right away :)

I first saw them on Pinterest [surprise] and made my own. The lady who did them on Pinterest made her's smaller, but I made mine as a half sheet of paper :)

Here's a pic, and click the link below for a FREE download!!

Step 1: Print the download onto cardstock so they're sturdier.
Step 2: Grab a few coffee sleeves from your desired coffee shop...obviously I LOVE Starbucks.
Step 3: Glue the coffee sleeve onto the thank you card.
Step 3: Purchase a Starbucks gift card [I'm just doing $5 because it could really add up] and stick the gift card into the coffee sleeve.
Step 4: Give to someone at your school that really helps you out!

Ms. W

August 19, 2012

Supply List for English Class

Back to School!!! I can't believe it's here! So much to do and think about, so in keeping with my quest to stay super organized this year, I made a supply list for each student. In previous years I never made a supply list because, well, they're high schoolers....shouldn't they have it figured out by now? But clearly some kids still need reminding that they need to bring a paper and pen/pencil to class everyday. So I've come up with my own supply list for my 10th graders this year :) I even took pictures of some supplies that could be considered 'confusing' to kids or parents. It's editable on my TPT enjoy!
Click here to go to my TPT store for your FREE, EDITABLE supply list!

Happy School Days!
Ms. W

August 17, 2012

Editable Teacher Lesson Planner

I've been having a lot of fun using new frames and creating fun templates! I like to use lesson planners, but it never seems that they're built for high school. So I have decided to create my own! I teach on a 4x4 block [so 4 periods a day instead of 6] but our classes are semester long; this allows students to graduate early if they would like to, or have a VERY easy senior year.

What you'll need to do is print out the template, but you'll want to either print or double side copy enough of the week's template to last all year :) I made two pages of notes in the template, but again, you could always double side that and have four, or chose to only insert one page of notes...up to you! You'll also probably want to laminate the cover and back to keep everything sturdy. You can then take your stack of papers and covers to Office Depot or Staples and have them bind it however you'd like :) And viola...Teacher Planner!

You can take the below template and edit it to fit your needs: change the name, period times, lunch time, etc.
Click here for your editable Teacher Lesson Planner

Let me know if you find this useful!

Ms. W

August 16, 2012

Giving Tree

Supplies for FREE? Ok! Some schools provide some of the supplies necessary to teach, but with the budget cuts lately, we can't get everything we need. So I've come up with a fun way to get supplies without breaking my personal budget! On our "Gear Up" days, (when the kids come to take their school pictures, get their books, etc,) they come to our classroom to get the books & sign forms!

So on my door I've posted sticky notes with supplies I'd love to have donated :) The parents at our school are required to perform 10 hours of community service each year-which they can also receive via financial donations [every $10 is one hour]. So this is an easy and helpful way to get some of their community service hours...and it benefits the kids!

Last year I did apples and did the "Giving Tree" theme. This year I found some cute owls to use! The big owl says "Owl be happy to receive..." [haha, get it?]. I have found that this works really well! I've never run out of Expo markers!! I've even gotten a Starbucks gift card for myself :)

I'm sure you'll come up with your own great designs!!! Comment and tell me what theme you choose!!

Welcome Back to School!
Ms. W