July 30, 2013

Guest Bloggin & FREEBIE

Today I'm Guest Blogging over at The Absolutely True Blog of an Almost Teacher. Emily is on vacation and asked me to do a blog entry for her; how exciting! So head on over to her blog to check out my great "How to encourage students" post & FREEBIE!!

Have a great day!

July 26, 2013

Classroom Newsletter-FREEBIE

This year I am going to attempt to do a classroom newsletter. I'm going to email it home to all the parents at the beginning of each month. I have found that high school parents tend to like to let the kids "try to figure things out on their own", and are often VERY surprised to find out of an upcoming test or paper and seem to think that I did not provide proper notice [despite my website].

I know that elementary school teachers do this, but I've never thought of doing it for high school. It might be a little more work for me, basically just creating the parent email list for each class, [after that, sending the email isn't much work]. But hopefully this will create a more cohesive unit of parents, students, and teacher.

It goes with my new blue chevron theme this year. You can easily replace the "picture" of the chevron with any other background you'd like, to fit your theme. Try it out and see what you think!

Head to my TPT store for your FREE download!

*Classroom theme pictures to come!

July 23, 2013

I'm a California Blogger

I'm linking up with Fifth in the Middle to add my state to my blog! Hopefully this will help me link up with other California bloggers...maybe we can all meet up and discuss blogging :) It's interesting to see how many people are blogging out there!

Woo Hoo! I'm an OFFICIAL California Blogger :)

Editable Sub Binder-FREE

Hi ya'll! Thought I'd get out another post and freebie before I leave on vacation for a few days. This editable chevron sub binder is super cute and fun! It's for the upper grades because it does not have the complicated stuff like, who buys what for lunch, or reading time, or anything like that. Just the basics :)

The difficulty I'm having is that I use the font KG Flavor and Frames to create the label for the text, and if you don't have it...it just shows up as the letter 'a'. So make sure you download the FREE FONT KG Flavor and Frames. Then it'll look all pretty and work how it's supposed to.

And here's my binder:

And my Welcome Page. I put a pic of myself in the bottom corner...just so they know who I am, and I sign the page.

I'm also going to upload a link to the PDF in case you just want to the keep the labels as is and not deal with it :)

And here is the link to the Editable Power Point in my TPT store.

Remember if you want to have it show up correctly in the Power Point, download the font
KG Flavor and Frames.
And if you like the text, it's Birmingham.

Have a great day!!

July 22, 2013

10 Things I've Learned...Link-up!

I'm excited about this link up! I feel like I've learned so many things over the last 5 [6 if you count student teaching] years of teaching, and some are doozies :) The blog Miss Kindergarten  is hosting a link up of the 10 things you've learned about/from teaching. Now, most of the people linking up are elementary school teachers, so it might be fun to see how we differ.

Here we go...High School Style:

1) Kids are horrible at ages....apparently I'm 40 [I am 30] which makes me sad. Not that there's anything wrong with 40, but at30, you don't want to be 40 just yet :)

2) Teenagers know how to work adults. I used to want to give everyone a chance if they had a little sob story...well then everyone had a little sob story and guess how many were true....like 5%. Sigh, oh well...

3) Not every lesson will be exciting and engaging in high school...and that's OK! Sometimes there are just things we have to teach, or we just have to read a book...deal with it kids.

4) I've learned that I spend too much money on school supplies and making my classroom look cute...do they care??

5) I found this e-card at the end of the school year and it sums up high school PERFECTLY!

6) Unfortunately, high school boys are going to talk about their female teachers, no matter what they wear, so stop stressing so much.

7) If you put it out there that you LOVE Starbucks....guess what you'll get for Christmas, or Teacher Appreciation, or anything??? STARBUCKS CARDS!!!!!!

8) Try your best no matter what. Sometimes the kids would be so bad I would just sit at my desk and say, "Ok, if you aren't going to pay attention and learn, I'm not going to teach you". Eventually they would settle down, but you don't want them to know they defeated you...even for that quick second.

9) I AM A GOOD TEACHER....I AM A GOOD TEACHER...I AM A GOOD TEACHER.....chant it over and over until you believe it.

10) We are changing lives, and kids look up to us. Be the role model they need, especially in high school when things are so rough.

So excited to join this link up! Excited to see what others have to say too :)

July 20, 2013

Readbox...that's right...knock off of Redbox with FREEBIE

I feel like I'm on such a roll lately with my blog posts! I guess that's what happens when you have time on your hands over the summer :)

So like any good teacher I was on Pinterest the other day, and came across a post from a library that made a Readbox that looked like the Redbox where you rent movies from. I thought it was AWESOME!!! I decided to make this for my classroom, but use the books that we're going to be reading this year.

I also decided to make a QR code to incorporate technology. The student just uses their smartphone and holds it over the code, and it will take him/her to the SparkNotes summary of that book!!!! You can link it to anything, but SparkNotes was easy because they know it anyway. If you would like to make QR codes for stuff in your classroom, here's the free site I used: qrcode.kaywa.com

So here are a few pics of my finished product!

And a semi-close up shot here via Instagram :)

Here is the "Check out what we're reading this year" link for the FREE sign

And here is the 'Rentals are Free' link for the FREE sign

Hope you all enjoy!!!!!!!!

July 17, 2013

1st Day of School Activities...FREEBIE

Even with my high schoolers, I like to do First Day of School Activities...don't want to overwhelm/scare them too much the first day :) Last year I only did one activity and then read the syllabus and went over rules, blah blah. And I felt like that's what they students felt like...blah. So this year I'm going to do two activities on the first day, and then go over the syllabus at the very end.

The first activity I'm going to share is a new one. We did something similar at our back to school staff meeting last year, but I didn't do it with my class. This year, I'm tweaking it a bit, and playing a game with it: Find Someone Who...BINGO.

Students will get five minutes to fill out the 16 spaces on their BINGO card with the choices provided on the page. There are more than 16 choices, some more plausible than others, so it could involve some strategy and quick thinking. Then, they will all stand up and mingle [may even take them outside], and the first person to fill out all 16 square with their classmates' names [BINGO Blackout], will win a prize. I'll probably do a round two. I may also then have students raise their hands for certain choices like, "Who is someone who slept past 2pm one day this summer?" Could be fun!

Here is the FREE Bingo Card, downloadable at my TPT Store.

Activity #2
The next activity I have done before, but the kids liked it so I'm going to do it again this year: Name Acronyms. It's fun because the students get to be creative with their name, but then we also use that to help us memorize their names. We take the first letter of their name, and whatever they used as the first word, and that becomes their name! So I'm "Ms. Wolters"...and let's say I wrote Magical for the 'M' in Ms. Wolters...my name in the class would be Magical Ms. Wolters. The kids laughed and LOVED it. Seriously. And we all knew each others' names within a few days. Really helps build community in the classroom. 

There's no template for this because the kids just write their first name down the left-hand side of the page, and then create words for their letters. I bust out the crayons and colored pencils and markers....like it's Kindergarten again :)

Here's the one I made last year as an example to show the students:

Hope these are some fun ideas for you!!! What do you guys do on the first day? Since it's still summer I might like one of your ideas better and change my mind!!! :) Please share!

July 16, 2013

Nominated for a Liebster!!

Thank you so much to Mandi over at Life with Middle Schoolers for nominating me for a Liebster Award! I love that more people are starting to read my blog and finding it useful! 

So, what is a Liebster exactly? Well, it is an award for bloggers with less than 200 followers to recognize new blogs. I started blogging a little over a year ago and have loved having a place to interact with other teachers who have wonderful ideas to share. I recently hit my 100 follower mark, and am now setting a new goal of 150...maybe this will help! hahaha  

Here are the 11 Questions Mandi asked me to answer:
1. How long have you been teaching?
I just completed my 5th year of teaching. I have taught every grade I'm credentialed to teach [7-12]...exciting!

2. What's your favorite teaching moment?
It was actually this last school year. I started an English Support Class for students struggling in English. I was preparing them for the CAHSEE [California High School Exit Exam-all high schoolers have to pass it to graduate], and most of the students would not have passed prior to the class. When I gave them their first practice test, none of them got even close to passing :/ But after my class, all but 2 passed!!!!!! And the two that didn't were only points away :) I was so proud...I think it was the most useful I felt in a while. :)

3. What's your favorite blogging site? (it doesn't have to be related to teaching)
I don't really have a favorite...there are so many awesome ones it is ridiculous! How do you choose??

4. What is your favorite place to buy things for your classroom?
Uh, do you need to ask?? Hahaha. Target, Office Depot, Michaels, etc.

5. What advice would you give new teachers?
STAY ORGANIZED!!!!!! See my blog for tips ;)

6. What three things are always in your teaching bag?
Does this mean my purse/school bag? Or is it metaphorical? Well, I always have a red pen, a positive attitude, and Starbucks :)

7. What's your teaching style?
I don't like to stand up front and teach. I think we learn best, and it sticks, when we do it ourselves; I often demonstrate then have the kids do the work. I'll walk around and check out their progress. I encourage group work and partnership. I'm also "strict" when it comes to enforcing expectations.

8. What do you love most/worst about teaching?
I love when kids get excited about learning or have that "Ah ha" moment. The worst thing about teaching is not so much the grading of essays, but when the parents undermine me or believe every little thing their teenager says without looking at my website, or even shooting me an email to check :/

9. What's your favorite piece of technology to use in the classroom? How do you use it?
I love having the kids use the laptops for research; I use Power Points; I have them do WebQuests; and good 'ole You Tube.

10. What could you not live without in your classroom?
Air, Light, the jokes the kids tell :)

11. What do you love to do when you aren't teaching?
I like to blog :) I like to hang out with my friends and their babies, shop, have coffee with friends, and enjoy the San Diego sunshine :) 

11 Random Facts About Me:
1. I am pretty much legally blind without my glasses or contacts
2. I am gluten and lactose free :/
3. I have the cutest little nephew
4. I coached cheer for 4 years
5. I have taught every grade I'm credentialed to teach
6. I am a BTSA Support Provider [new teacher induction program]
7. My favorite color is pink
8. I am a Starbucks Addict
9. I love decorating my apt....I can't wait to own my own place to fix it how I want :)
10. I want to get a puppy next year
11. I've been working so hard to pay off my debt and buy a new car! End of next school year is the goal!!!

So now, here are my 11 Questions for my nominees: 

1. How long have you been teaching?
2. What's your favorite teaching/coaching moment?
3. What's your favorite blogging site? (it doesn't have to be related to teaching)
4. Which store is your favorite place to buy things for your classroom?
5. What advice do you wish you got as a new teacher?
6. What three things are always in your teaching bag?
7. What teacher inspired you as a student?
8. What do you love most/worst about teaching?
9. What's your favorite piece of technology to use in the classroom? How do you use it?
10. How do you plan to incorporate the new Common Core Standards this next year?
11. What do you love to do when you aren't teaching?

And my 5 Nominees Are:
Hangin' With Hekken
English with Mrs. L
Juggling ELA
Teach it Write 
IBTEACHNU Language Arts

Go check out these great blogs! They have so many ideas that we can use in our classrooms, I love it! 

July 15, 2013

For My Male Teacher Friends Out There: FREE Lesson Planner

So my mom and I were talking on Saturday as I was showing her my TPT Store and others' stores...she looked at me and said, "Everything is so girlie". I thought for a second, and realized she was right. Here I am trying to make "cute" things to share with people, and realized that male teachers don't want "cute" things to hand out. They just want 'things' to hand out that will be effective and helpful, they don't necessarily care about the cute factor [I know I'm generalizing, but in my experience, it's true :)].

So my first step in remedying this situation is to make a more masculine cover for my lesson planner. It's not much, but it's a step :) So here is a pic of the new masculine lesson planner [or for anyone really that doesn't want a girlie planner].
Click here to access my TPT Store and download this planner for FREE!

Feel free to re-post or share with any guy teachers you know! It's free because I just want to get it out there and give people something useful :)


July 13, 2013

FREE Lesson Planner: PDF version

Hi all! I recently posted my free lesson planner for you via Google Docs, but thought I'd post it via TPT too as a PDF in case you don't need to change anything and in case the formatting is weird.

The planner includes:
-A cover [which I have laminated]
-One week's calendar [which I then copy ~45 weeks worth]
-An Information Sheet
-A few Notes pages [you can copy more]
-And a back cover [laminate this too]

I then take it to Office Depot-Be sure you're signed up for the Star Teacher Rewards program!- and have them laminate and bind the pages. Only costs about $5!! Love it!

So head on over to my TPT Store to download your FREE copy!

Any other themes you would like to see?

July 11, 2013

Freebie Packet: Tips and Tools to Survive, and Thrive In, English

Hi Ya'll! I have been very busy this week, and even went into the classroom to do some decorating! I'm changing my theme...no more purple and zebra :)  I'll post a sneak peak pic below ;)

But here is something I've been working on this week. I decided to make a little packet of important papers that I used to hand out one at a time, but decided to combine [staple and hole-punch] so it seemed a little more important and kept them together. I took out my personal stuff and made it pretty generic so you can use it as is :)

It contains:
-A Supply List
-How to Format a Paper using MLA
-How to Insert Quotations via MLA
-Turning 1st person into 3rd person
-How to Annotate

Click here to go to my TPT store for your FREE copy!!!

Here's what my packets look like:

And as promised...here is a sneak peak of my new room design/theme:
It's hard to tell, but it says "Welcome to English 10". I'm doing blue chevron and salmon as my new "theme". I made the banners myself, and then punched holes in the corners and strung them together with twine. I couldn't repaint the wall, and there's really no point because we're getting our new location next year...so why paint for only a year??

Anyway, hope you can use the Tips & Tools packet!!!!

July 8, 2013


Procrastination. It's something we all tell our students not to do; yet here I am. I am procrastinating reading Cry and creating the curriculum for it. I think I'm just a little overwhelmed and not sure where to start, which makes sense. I know Common Core isn't that different from the State Standards, but everyone is making such a big deal about it, I feel like this unit has to be perfect! :/

I also feel a little bit of guilt about being lazy and "not working"...but then I justify with "Isn't that one of the perks of teaching? Getting the summer to take a break?". But I do; I feel guilty for not working on the school stuff. [Well if you count looking at Pinterest and other blogs for teaching ideas, then yes, I've been hard at work.]

Anyway...what are your thoughts on working over the summer? Should I feel guilty? Everyone's sitting around and I'm relaxing and reading fun books, looking at Pinterest, etc.  Oh, and blogging, that keeps me distracted ;)

Have a great day!

July 3, 2013

Summer Reading-What are you Reading Linky Party

Hi ya'll! It's summer so that means I actually get to read books! I don't have to grade...I can read...for fun! Well one of the books is for the fall, but the other two are for fun.

Thanks to Jessica at Tales of a Teacherista for hosting this Linky Party! Go check out her blog.
The first book I read was Girls in White Dresses. I LOVED it! I'm 30 and single, and this book is my life...literally. All you single girls HAVE to read this...pithy and funny :)

The next book on my list is Where'd you go Bernadette?. I've only read a few chapters...not LOVING it yet, but it's interesting.

The last book I am going to read, and have to actually, is Cry, The Beloved Country. I'm very much looking forward to it, and excited to discover how I'm going to teach it. It goes with the 10th grade Common Core standards, and it was an example in the Common Core maps book.

So what books are you reading this summer? Maybe I'll find another to read :) Happy reading!!

July 1, 2013

July Currently

Happy July! We are all now officially on vacation...woo hoo! Try not to do too much school work ;)
Thanks again Farley for hosting the link up!

And Happy 4th of July! Thank you to all our military armed forces for protecting our freedom!