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

August 11, 2012

Stamping Fun!

When checking homework, I normally just put a check on it [or a check minus if it's not quality work]. But how easy is that for a high schooler to just do on their own?? So I came across these awesome stamps that are relevant to them, and fun!
I LOVE these and plan to use them all the time this year! I think the kids will get a kick out of them, and they're not that easy to replicate. You can find these on ThinkGeek. They're only $12.95! I've seen just the "like" stamp on Etsy for over $25!! This place is such a great deal!

Just thought I'd share a fun idea :)

Ms. W

August 9, 2012

Teacher Toolbox

According to Pinterest, I'm on the latter end of this fad, but that didn't stop me! So here is my Teacher Toolbox and how I made it. Several teachers and staff at my school always come to me for supplies because I always have now they are located in one, easy to find place. Maybe I'll make another one and raffle it off or something so everyone stops coming to me for supplies :)

Anyway, I first saw the idea on Mrs. Rojas Teaches' Pinterest page which then took me to her blog. I found out that this "toolbox" is sold at Lowes and is around $17.
This "toolbox" only comes in blue, so if you want another color, you need to spray paint it. *Note: I did not use a primer first and that was a mistake...use a primer spray first!

Next, I found some labels that I liked, or you can make your own. I have seen some boxes with great color and all fancy; I chose to keep mine fairly simple so that I can use it with changing classroom themes.
I used a scrapbook glue to adhere the labels to the front of the "toolbox" drawers. This worked very well as they have stayed on and don't have the funny lines you get when you use regular glue. And so I started gluing away!
So here it is with almost all the small drawers filled out. I saved the bigger drawers for index cards, tape, highlighters, etc. Some peoples' "toolboxes" on Pinterest have the bigger drawers holding pens and pencils; but when I tried to put pens and pencils in the box, they don't fit....word to the wise before you glue those labels on :)

And after my so-so spray-painting job, here is my completed Teacher Toolbox. Like I said, I kept it a little low key...the labels just have different colored polka-dot borders. You'll notice too that I have one blank large drawer and one blank small drawer. When I decide what to put in there, I'll just type up the words on the computer, print them out, and then glue them on the blank label I already glued on the drawer.

Just another fun way to organize your classroom. Could even work well for a home office too!

Ms. W

August 6, 2012

Sub Binder

Even though I hate calling in sick, there are often times when my body just won't make it through the day. Sometimes you know you won't be able to make it in the next day, and sometimes you wake up and just can't do it. And some days you have school conferences or IEP meetings to attend and have to get a sub. For the days I know I'm going to be out, I always leave extensive plans and some classroom expectations. However, on unexpected sub days, how can that happen?

So I've created the Sub Binder. I saw a few "Sub Tubs" on Pinterest, but those were for elementary school, and it seemed that a binder would work well for high school/middle school.  So here are the pictures of what it looks like, along with the descriptions-ENJOY!

The Cover: I have a cute poster in my room that says "This classroom runs on love, laughter, and lots of Starbucks", so I kind of played off that for my cover.

The first page is the Welcome page: The welcome page thanks the sub for coming, explains a little about the school, the students, and my teaching philosophy. I also kindly ask the sub not to deviate from the lesson plan. [I came back one day and the kids told me all the sub did was talk about her honeymoon in Hawaii and how women shouldn't change their last name :/]

Phone Numbers: Right below where I cut off the photo, I list the teachers in the English Dept & their classroom extensions. The page behind it is the directory for the school.
Classroom Policies: This next section addresses issues such as bathroom use, iPod and cell phone use, talking during class, etc.

Lesson Plans: Here is the best part of the Sub Binder. If I know I will be gone, I'll leave very detailed lesson plans here. However, if it's an unplanned absence, I have a back up plan! Each teacher has a wiki that we're supposed to put the day's work on and post homework. I keep mine very detailed and diligent, for just this reason. So every Monday I'm going to print the wiki for the week, and place it in this section. That way if I do have an unplanned absence, they can view the wiki for the week and follow those plans. [In the intro page of the Lesson Plans section, I also explain that I keep all the papers & such for each unit in a separate, labeled binder, so they simply look through that binder for the work!]

Warm Ups: Right behind the Lesson Plan explanation page, I put the Warm Up page. This explains what the warm up is [and shows a picture of what it looks like on the board] so that the procedure can be followed to a tee. 

Emergency Plan: Behind the Lesson Plan/Warm Up section is the Emergency Plan section. Behind the divider I placed our school's emergency plan and told the sub what needs to be taken out during a drill or real emergency.

Misc: Lastly I have my miscellaneous section. This section, as of right now, just contains a note page for the sub to leave for me [see below].

Hopefully this binder idea has been helpful! It's really easy to make, but may save you tons of time in the future and some stress too! Now I'm ready for those unexpected days off.
ENJOY & and feel free to create your own version!

Ms. W


August 2, 2012

Note Taking: Mind Mapping

There are so many different theories as to how to properly take notes out there...well here's another one to add to the list. You may have already heard of this method, and if so, hopefully this is a good refresher course.

Mind Mapping is a way of taking notes while sort of creating a picture. The importance here is color chunking.

How To:
1) You start with the main concept you're taking notes about in the center of the page [paper turned horizontally]. Usually we have the students draw a picture for that main concept as well. You'll see below that I drew a feather pen for Shakespeare.
2) Then you add the first "branch". The branch goes from thick to thin. When you write the word on the branch, the word needs to take up the whole length of the branch.
3) Then any additional information belonging to that branch gets added on. STICK WITH THE SAME COLOR. Each branch is its own color.
4) The next branch, or sub-point, is a different color. All ideas associated with that branch remain that same color.

Below you'll see a mind map I'm going to have my students do for Shakespeare. They'll take notes about Shakespeare by creating this Mind Map and using the color chunking method.
My attempt at the Shakespeare Mind Map. I'm sure the kids' will look better :)

Hope this gives you another idea for taking notes. Sometimes it's nice to just mix it up and keep the students interested & on their toes!

Share a Comment: What is your most successful note taking strategy?

-Ms. W