December 31, 2013

New Year's Sale!!!!

Happy 2014!!!! Let's ring in the New Year right with a little sale shall we? I've got a great New Year's Resolution activity for the kids when we's only $1 and I'm having a 15% off SALE! Woot! Click here to head on over to my TPT Store.

So let's make our Education Resolution to help each other out this year. Let's be a community of teachers that cares and shares. My goal is to continue to provide quality free items in addition to paid products :) I wanted to start this blog to build up the Middle/High School connections because I saw a lacking in the blog world. I love hearing other people's ideas and can't wait to implement new activities in my class this year! :)

Happy and Prosperous 2014 everyone!!
[Photo from:]

December 30, 2013

Thirteen in '13 Linky Party!

I love a good Linky! I'm linking up with A Teeny Tiny Teacher and her pals for the Thirteen in 13 Linky!!!

I'm going to do a mix of their things and what Hadar did with 13 highlights of 2013. 

 I LOVE black skinny jeans. I wear them all the time because I can tuck them into boots or wear them with flats or heels :) I in 4 days ago....just found the perfect pair at Tilly's. They're heavier than leggings, but thinner than jeans-but I don't think they're jeggings ;)

I watched Pitch Perfect several times so I'll go with that :) So funny and yet the mash-up songs are really good. I might even buy the soundtrack. Catching Fire was a close second :)

 I have really gotten into White Collar on USA network. I'm also extremely into Sons of Anarchy, but that had it's season finale already and While Collar is still going on :)

My favorite restaurant is 2 Good 2 B. It's a gluten free bakery/restaurant that also has dairy free items. They have a few locations here in San Diego, and their North County location is only about 25 minutes away!!!!

The favorite new thing I tried was my Renaissance Faire!!! It was hard work but so much fun and the kids had a blast! I was so worried about it 'cus they're high schoolers and tried to act "cool" like they didn't want to do it, but they liked it!

Hmmmm....For my birthday in April my mom and sister took my to a spa in Santa Barbara for the weekend. Got a lovely massage and went to a great sushi restaurant that was VERY gluten-free accommodating :)

I decided to have my first annual Christmas Craft party this year [around Thanksgiving break time] and pinned some great crafts that my friends and I made! It was awesome :)

Hmmmm. That's a tough one. I always really like Farley's Currently. I look forward to those every month!!!

 Education wise, my Best accomplishment was starting my English Support class. I worked so hard on setting it up and making sure the kids were prepared for the high school exit exam. The proof was in the pudding, so to speak, when all but 2 of my kiddos passed the English portion. 

Personally, my BEST accomplishment was diagnosing, dealing with, and trying to overcome my recent "diagnosis" of being Gluten and Dairy free. It's been a tough, challenging, depressing, emotional journey. Most people have no idea how it runs your every day life. But I'm getting there and trying not to let it bring me down!!

Well....sorry to disappoint, but my favorite pictures are of me and my now 1 yr. old nephew and I don't know that my sis would want his cute little face up here on my blog. So just imagine the cutest little thing you've ever seen, double it, and then you've got my little nephew :)

My favorite memory is just hanging out with my little nephew. Since I don't have kids of my own yet, it's so great to get to hang out with him when I can. I drove up to Sacramento [where they live] over the summer and spent 4-5 days with them and it was so great!!

I have a few goals for 2014:

1) I'm going to make a new gluten free/dairy free item each month. Nothing crazy, just one a month. I figure that is easy to follow up with. That will expand my food options too :)

2) Job wise, I'm going to make sure that I remain CALM and recognize that each student needs something from me. I will try my best to be available to each student. That's a lot in high school, but the goal is to try :)

I think my word for 2013 was Faith. I had to believe that I would find out what was wrong with me. I had to have faith that it would be ok. I had to have faith that I would get through it and still be able to teach [I had to use ALL my sick days last school year]. I still have faith that God has a plan for me and my personal life...

And that's my 13 in '13!!




December 28, 2013

New Year's Resolution activity for your classroom!

As promised, here is a new activity for the classroom. Very timely as we are coming back to the classroom in 2014! I created a one page activity that is a fun way to remind them of Common Core reading, writing, listening, and speaking: New Year's Education Resolutions :) I'm going to use it as my Journal entry on our first day back at school...but you could just do it as a fun activity.

The zip file contains both the Word doc and the PDF version. I did both because if I just do one or the other, I get complaints either I'm being proactive! :) Head on over to my TPT Store to pick this baby up in time to use in January! 

Hope your students have a little fun with it!

December 26, 2013

It's been too long...

I can't believe Christmas has come and gone. Seems like just yesterday I was counting down the days until school was out, then til my nephew came to town, and then Christmas. And now it's all come and gone.

Christmas was bitter sweet this year, as my grandmother passes away on the 24th. But I think having my one year old nephew here really helped my mom. It was wonderful to have Christmas with a little one around and see him enjoy all the fun things :)

Christmas was up early and headed over to my parents to watch the little man open his first stocking...he was not too impressed. I guess it's hard to impress a 12 month old. Then he took a nap and we opened presents around 10am. That kid got spoiled!! But that's ok because a lot of the gifts were books...yes, a book from the English Teacher auntie...I know :)

I got a really great knife block set, so now I have no excuse not to cook great meals :) I also got a really cool mason jar set and mason jar drink dispenser...yay!!

So other than that, I've been grading essays...
I shouldn't complain...I'm grading in 72* weather on my patio :) Using my new mason jar! 
[Those are strawberries and blueberries mashed in water there :)]

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and are enjoying and hopefully relaxing. Look for a new, timely, 2014 product for the classroom coming soon!

December 15, 2013

Renaissance Faire SUCCESS!!!!

Well, it was a lot of work...but we have a success ladies and gentlemen! Even though my 10th graders pretended they were too cool for it, they had so much fun! The guys had so much fun sword fighting [with cardboard swords of course], that at one point I was worried an eye would get poked out, but they kept it under control and I even heard "this is the best day ever"!!!

Many of you may have seen my TPT Unit for the Shakespeare Renaissance Faire, and I used everything in that to create mine. I started by, weeks ago, sending out the Parent Volunteer flyer to get supplies donated for the faire. [Our parents have to do 25 hours of 'community service' for the school a year, or they can pay $10 for one hour. So I sent out this flyer [below] and got all the pipe cleaners and ribbons to make the girls' headpieces. Then I also received fabric scraps for the guys to make belts, and cardboard for their shields and swords.

I wanted to bring some decorations to the faire, so I created some banners and a wooden sign to bring some 'reality' to the faire. [The banner template is in my TPT Unit]
Surprisingly, laminating 100 flags only cost $5 at the local teacher supply store!

I bought the wooden arrows at Michaels, and then the good guys at Home Depot build me the stand! Literally had 1/2" to spare when fitting it in my car!!! yikes!

I also played Renaissance Music during the faire, which made it seem a little more authentic as well. Here's a link to the YouTube video I found; it is an hour long 'video' that plays music the whole time:

So, on to the faire. Each student, or pair of students, picked a role and did their research based on that. They had to create a one page handout and dress for the role. If they were on food, they had to make at least one of the items and put the recipe on the handout. If they were on games, they needed to put the rules and how to win on their handout. The handout also included all their research. They needed to make enough copies for everyone in the class, so that each student took home all the information.

I do have small class sizes, and this is the one time I wish I had bigger classes. It was a little tricky to have students manning their booths and have fair goers :/ I think next year I'll invite the Jr. Highers to come be fair goers and have my kids run the booths. It did help that the French teacher brought over her students during 4th period, my smallest class, so they were the fair goers. I also had some visitors from the 11/12 English teacher for about 15 min or so. That was fun for my students too because they explained their games and food and it was just more fun with more people!

So here are a few pics. I tried to take pics so I wouldn't have to blur out the kids' faces, and I think for the most part it worked :)

The gypsy tent...we borrowed a pop up tent and strung fabric throughout.

This kid was awesome! He painted horses on posterboard, tied a sash to them so the kids could put them over their shoulders, and made a Jousting station!!

This team made bacon, mini mince-meat pies, and brought a meat/cheese platter!!

General Faire shot....sorry about the blurred out tacky, I know. :/

And finally, my costume. My mom made this in 8th grade...we had to add fabric to the bodice, and made a new hat...but it turned out great!!!!

I really hope this encourages you to have your own faire, or a version of it, when you do your Shakespeare unit. I know that some schools use a whole day; I left everything up and then each period had their own mini faire--whatever works for you!

Here's the TPT link again, and a link to the "How to speak Shakespearean' handout I gave the kids so they could try to stay in character. Overall, a great & exhausting day!! :)

And with that, I bid thee Anon. :)

December 11, 2013

Shakespeare FREEBIE

In gearing up for our Renaissance Faire on Friday, I've created this little freebie handout entitled, "How to speak 'Shakespeare'".

I'm so excited to start our 3-week Shakespeare unit and read Much Ado About Nothing. Kids always fret and moan about Shakespeare, and so this year I decided to make researching the times fun! We're holding a Renaissance Faire on Friday!!! Each student has a role to fill and will be asked to dress, and speak, in 'Shakespearean' should be so fun! [My mom has helped me create my costume...she can sew ;)]

Click here to get your FREEBIE handout from my TPT Store.

You can find my Renaissance Faire unit here on my TPT Store. It actually meets Common Core standards and is a lot of fun! I even have a donation request flyer for parents! :)

Don't worry...I'll take lots of pics!!! Here's a preview of my costume though :) [I have like zero make-up on so no judging ;) LOL]

Looking forward to sharing all about the success of the faire!!!

December 10, 2013

Blogiversary Winner Announced!

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the Blogiversary giveaway! The winner is Mandy Moniforte...Congrats Mandy! Even if you didn't win, I hope you enjoyed the 15% off at my TPT store, which is still going on through the end of the day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please email me at: with your mailing address so I can send you your $10 Starbucks card! 

Have a great day everyone!

December 8, 2013

It's my Blogiversary!!! Sale :)

Happy Blogiversary! It's been 2 years since I started my blog and I could not have imagined the places it would take me. I started this blog because I couldn't find many resources for middle/high school teachers out there. There were TONS for elementary teachers, but I don't often get to do arts and crafts ;) I wanted to create a place where secondary teachers could share ideas and support each other....and hopefully this has proved that opportunity for some.

So thank you to everyone who follows my little blog, follows my TPT store, and the Facebook and Pinterest pages. I get wonderful ideas from all of you and hopefully you get a few from me :)

My goal for this upcoming year is to continue to provide ideas for you guys, and to try to create a little more "community" feel amongst us secondary teachers :)

As a thank you, I'm hosting a Blogiversary Sale, now until Tuesday, where you can get 15% off my products...and the free ones are still free ;)

Head on over to my TPT store to take a look and enjoy your 15% off as my way of saying thanks :)

I'm also holding a raffle!!!! I'll be giving away a $10 Starbucks card to one lucky winner! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great day! 

December 1, 2013

Currently December!! I can't believe it!

I can not believe it's December already! Where has the time gone!?! So once again I'm linking up with Farley to do the Currently for the month. My favorite :)

Hope everyone has a great few weeks before break!!

My Favorite Tradition is making banana bread for the neighbors. My mom started doing this when we were little, and I've kept it going. I love the smell of the house and the fun of making it. This year I'm going to make a few gluten free batches so I can have some too ;)

I'd love for you to share some of your favorite traditions too!

November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving & Gearing up for the TPT Cyber Sale!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!! I'm currently busy making gluten/dairy free pumpkin pies, mashed potatoes, and biscuits to take to Mom and Dad's house as my Thanksgiving contribution :) Oh, and blogging for a quick minute ;) Hope everyone is having a wonderful break!!! Don't forget to count your many blessings this holiday season.

And for the good stuff!!! TPT's CYBER SALE!!!!!!!!! I can't wait! I've had my eyes on a few items I plan to get :) So head on over to TPT to check out all the great sales! I'm offering 20% off, and TPT is offering up to 28% off total if you enter the code in the pic below :)

                                                     FONTS: LEEBY'S LOVE LETTERS

The sale is Monday and Tuesday, December 2nd and 3rd. You can head on over early and make out your wishlist ahead of time so you can shop like a pro and get those deals :)

Happy Thanksgiving ya'll!!!!

November 22, 2013

Don't forget...

Don't forget to do your Thanksgiving Mad Lib today with your kiddos!

It may even be fun to do around the Thanksgiving table this next Thursday, or something to keep the kids occupied while you're cooking or chatting with adults :)

Click here to download this FREE Thanksgiving Mad Lib!

November 21, 2013

Mock Trial SUCCESS!!

Yesterday was great! Well, despite being sick and having to be at work while sick; but still!

My English 10 classes are reading Cry, The Beloved Country, and one of the characters kills someone-he says it's out of fear, but he's a black man in apartheid South Africa. So we decided to give him an actual/fair trial based on the facts [as presented in the novel].

I split the students into Prosecution and Defense teams, had 4 characters/witnesses that they could call, and I was the Judge & Jury :)  They had graphic organizers to help structure their thoughts, and they had several days to work on this. I also suggested they create a Google Doc to compile their thoughts so that they wouldn't have to try to get together over the weekend.

They got sooooo into it! I was pleasantly surprised by my non-honors classes-they put more work in than the honors kids! Love it :)  The best part was that I have a few kids that never do their homework step up and be the best ones out of the bunch!

This was my first time trying this so it was really exciting that my expectations were exceeded!

If you're interested in trying with your class, here's a picture of the graphic organizer the students used to plan their arguments. You can also get my CTBC Unit Plan at my TPT Store.

Never be afraid to try something new in the classroom! You never know; they may exceed your expectations. :)

November 18, 2013

Winner Announced!

And the winner is.....Amanda Z! I'll be emailing you Amanda for your address so I can send you the book!

Thanks everyone for entering the giveaway and sharing your thankful tips for teaching. I hope you all have a great week before Thanksgiving break, and remember that we have so much to be thankful for!

November 13, 2013

Thankful Giveaway

With Veteran's Day just passed, and Thanksgiving on the way, I'm feeling very thankful in November. Not just for family and friends and our right to be free because of the brave, but for my job as well.

I started thinking about what I'm thankful for as a teacher, and a million things came to mind. But one thing stood out...kind of weird since there's a million things to choose from, but here goes. I'm thankful for the trainings I've received. I loved teaching my first two years in the public school system and had great students and therefore had a pretty easy time of it. Then I made the move to the charter school system, and it's a whole new world. Some of my regular teaching methods weren't working; then I went to the Quantum Learning Network [QLN] trainings. These significantly changed my viewpoint on teaching and made my life easier!!! I'm telling you!

One of the things I incorporated into my classroom was the 8 Keys of Excellence. I constantly refer to them and try to weave them into lessons and classroom behavior. So I thought I'd share this book with you. I know a book isn't the same as a training, but I'm hoping it will be a jumping off point for you!

So join the raffle below to win the book: 8 Keys of Excellence: Principles to Live By, by Bobbi DePorter.

One of the options for an entry is to leave a comment below. Please comment of what teaching tip you're thankful for...maybe it will help someone out!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great day! 

November 4, 2013

FREEBIE:Thanksgiving-Themed Mad Lib

I love the fall weather! I love Thanksgiving especially; getting to eat and chat with family and friends.

Sometimes I wish I taught elementary school though so I could do all the fun crafts :/ But, I have a semi solution! I created a Mad Lib for Thanksgiving that works with I'm refreshing their grammar and they get to have fun because they don't realize it's school work...they think it's just for fun :) Sneaky!

So please head on over to my TPT Store to enjoy this FREEBIE!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Linking up with Manic Mondays for this too!
Have a great week!

November 2, 2013

November Currently...and Fall is here!

I can't believe it's November already! I'm so excited!!!! That means it's closer to Thanksgiving, mmmmm gluten-free, diary free, pumpkin pie! And then my nephew's 1st birthday in December, and then Christmas! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!! 

So I took down all my Halloween decorations today, and decorated for Fall/Thanksgiving. LOVE. Here's my currently, followed by pics of my apartment all decorated :)

My front door...duh ;)

Comfy fireplace...

And my dining room table decorations!

I love Fall...Happy November everyone!

October 30, 2013

20% Off Sale now through Saturday!

Thank you so much to everyone who follows me on here and on my TPT Store. As a thank you for reaching 100 TPT followers, I'm hosting a 20% off sale!!!!

The sale runs from RIGHT NOW- SATURDAY :)

Go ahead and pick up your favorite wish-list item for a great discount!

Thanks again!

October 28, 2013

Parent/Teacher Conference Success!!!

Well today was parent/teacher conference day at the high school. I only had six parents sign up to meet with me, which I think was ok. I having been doing a lot more school to home communication this year [my monthly Newsletter, more emails home, using Remind 101, etc] so I did not really have parents out of the look or anything that needed to speak to me.

I had a few parents come in just to chat and say hi [their kids had As], which was kind of cool to not have to discuss action plans or what we could work on. I still filled out the Parent/Teacher Conference Sheet because it is a good take-away. I made a copy for the parents to take home with them :)

Anyway, I'm super excited with how the day went, and I'm very pleased that my conference sheets turned out to be so useful. I hope you can find them useful too!!!

Click here for my Parent/Teacher Conference Sheet
Click here for my Monthly Newsletter

October 26, 2013

FREEBIE!!! Annotation Bookmark

Happy Saturday everyone! I've been working a lot with my 10th graders to improve their annotation skills. For those that don't know, annotation is taking notes in the margins of texts....I've heard this referred to as Close Reading as well. I believe that annotation is key for comprehension and understanding the power of Language.

It's not enough for kids to just write "wow" or "oh my gosh" or "that's cool". I used to just let them write anything that came to mind as they were reading, but now, after seeing thousands of the aforementioned phrases, I'm moving in a different direction.

These bookmarks provide guidance for meaningful and thoughtful annotation. Most of the categories are also very closely aligned with Common Core Standards as well.

I suggest printing them onto Cardstock so that they hold up a while. Or, print them on Cardstock and them laminate them as well...extra security.  :)

Hope you all find this helpful! Head on over to my TPT Store to pick this bookmark up for FREE!

*And now I'm adding this to Manic Monday Freebies!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

October 22, 2013

Help me get to 100....and get 20% off!!

Hi everyone! I am so thankful for all who are following my TPT Store! 86 of you to be exact! I can't believe how far I've come in just three months of selling. THANK YOU!!!!

I'd love to make more middle school and high school teachers aware of all my products [both free and those that cost $$]; the more people that we can share ideas with the better!

So when I get to 100 followers on my TPT Store, I'll throw a 20% off sale!!!!! That means some of my products will be $.80!!! Crazy!

Thanks again, and please share with anyone who would be interested in following a middle/high teacher!