October 30, 2014

No Trick...here's a Treat!

Here's a treat this Halloween.... A Halloween Sale going on right now at my TPT Store! Head on over for some treats at 10% off. I've got a cute FREE Halloween Mad Lib, and a bunch of other treats to help you get through the next few months until Christmas break ;)

Here's the link to the Halloween Mad Lib too! :)

Happy Halloween everyone! 

October 23, 2014

Facebook Profile FREEBIE

This freebie stems from the Animal Farm Facebook profiles I created a while back. I used to have them up as a Word doc so that people could edit them, but then the formatting was all messed up, so I made them a PDF. Then I had people emailing and asking for the Word version anyway. So I've spent a lot of time emailing out the Word version.

Well now, by popular demand, I've made a blank template! Yay! It's still a PDF, but it would be easy to drop in a picture or add text :)

So head on over to my TPT Store and download this FREE Facebook Profile Template!

October 21, 2014

Parent Conferences-FREEBIE

The Quarter is ending this week, and so that means next Monday is Parent/Teacher Conference day. My school doesn't require conferences, but we do suggest them for parents whose students are earning a C or lower. I'll also get a few honors parents who want to meet just to see how great their child is ;)

I created this Parent/Teacher conference sheet last year because it helped keep me on track [and mostly the parents] and helped me stay within the 15 minute time slot. Sometimes parents just want to talk and talk, and tell you their life story, or sometimes even cry about how they can't control their kid. That's great and I'm happy to listen, but I only have 15 minutes, so this organizer helped me stay on track :)

Parent/Teacher Conferences sheet, FREE on my TPT Store:

 Even if it's not officially conference time, this would be a great aid during any parent discussion. Hope you find it useful! :)

October 17, 2014

Live Grading Success

Any English teacher knows that grading essays is time-consuming, mentally exhausting, and frustrating. It also takes up your home life time...what little of that you have...because you have to take the essays home to grade because there's no way you can do it at school AND grade the homework too!

I don't have a solution, but I have a different approach. A few months ago at a department meeting, we were talking about grading and how feedback is important, etc. I don't remember who brought up the idea or if they had done it, but the great idea of live feedback entered the discussion.

The only way this will work though, is if you can trust your students to do independent work for a whole week. I had rearranged by units this year, and somehow ended up with an extra week...still don't understand. So this provided the perfect opportunity to do live grading, and still have the grades turned in in time for the grading period [Quarter 1 ends next week].

So while I am pulling students over one at a time and grading their essay in front of them, the kids are analyzing articles using a worksheet I adapted regarding the Four Fundamental Ways We Relate to Text. The texts I am having them analyze are from the Common Core Appendix B exemplars.
Here's the worksheet...it's double sided.

The live grading has gone surprisingly VERY well. The kids are seeing what it's like for me to grade their essays and see EVERY little mistake they make. I've had so many kids notice the errors before I mark them...it's awesome! This is also a plus for me because they can't just look at the grade and be upset--they logically understand their grade. I've had no complaints, no arguments about the grade, and kids have been telling me it's "really cool" and "really helpful".

Unfortunately, I don't have time to do this with their next essay, but I think doing it with this first one will help make sure their next paper is done correctly. They were engaged in the grading process and I truly believe this will transfer over to their next writing assignment.

Hope this helps everyone! Have a great weekend!

October 10, 2014

Balancing Work Life and Personal Life

Well this is a hard topic for a lot of us. I know that I struggle with it for sure. I used to spend A TON of time doing school related activities/assignments.

I used to coach the cheer team...an 11 month commitment, which included practices, traveling to games, camps, and then creating dances and cheers on my "off" time.

Then I was also on two committees for work, and at one point, taught 5/4 sections. CRAZY!!! I never had time for myself....especially with having to grade essays...forget about it!

But this year, this year is different. I'm not gonna lie, it's because I'm actually in a relationship. I am being forced to have a personal life ;) But this has been the best thing for me. We should not be spending 100% of our time doing school-related activities. Yes, I still have to grade essays and stuff...but I've been really trying to get as much graded at school as possible.

This year I've utilized my TAs to the fullest. They grade quizzes and tests [multiple choice and/or fill in the blank, and I grade the written portion]; they grade little homework assignments; they enter grades into my paper gradebook and then I put them in the computer gradebook. This has really helped save me some time.

So this weekend, I am headed to Arizona with my hunny and we are going to see the U of A game, and then Sunday we'll see the Cardinals game. This is the first time in my teaching career that I've done a weekend "vacation" during the school week/year. Usually I would wait til Summer, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas break to take a little trip. So this is good for me! I may have to grade a tiny teeny bit in the car ride there...but then I'll be 100% focused on us :)

So this is sort of a friendly reminder to make time for yourself. Don't let school overwhelm your life...just don't let it. It's a conscious decision we have to make every day. I still struggle with it every day, but I try my best to balance my life better now :)

Have a great weekend everyone!

October 6, 2014

Halloween FREEBIE!

Happy October! I hadn't done a little, fun activity in a while, so I thought I'd make a cute Mad Lib for Halloween!

This Mad Lib uses Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives. I will be using this with my 10th graders as just a fun warm up on Halloween :) You'd be surprised how many 10th graders do not know the difference between Verbs and Adjectives :/

Click here to download your FREE Halloween Mad Lib!

Have a great day everyone!

October 2, 2014

October Currently

It's October! Woo Hoo! Pumpkin everything! The Pumpkin Spice Latte is back, I love making pumpkin bread, and the decorations! I love the beginning of the holiday season.

Mmmmmmmmm :) 
[Of course mine is with soy 'cus of the whole dairy-free thing]

And I'm linking up with Farley once again for my monthly Currently!

I love decorating for the holiday seasons! So here is my fireplace all decorated for Halloween :)

And here is my "trick" for your classroom:
Have a come-in song. By the time the song is over, their warm up needs to be completed. Once you do this for a week, they know right away what to do when that song is playing. I don't even have to ask them to do their warm up now; song comes on, they get to work. Saves you a bunch of hassle!

Have a great weekend everyone!!

New Classroom! Finally!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while; I've been waiting to post until things were pretty set in my new room. It's still not 100%, but it's good enough to share 'cus I'm so excited!

There's not going to be much substance to this post, just a lot of pics and some small explanations :) Enjoy!

They had set up the desks in the room...but not how I wanted, obviously :)

A wall of windows....halla!

The back wall view from the front of the classroom...

Back wall corner...

Front corner by the windows :)

And lots of boxes!!!!!

Side wall opposite the window wall...this has a whiteboard with the classwork and homework for each prep. There's a hanging file folder with extra handouts, and next to it, an MLA formatting poster.

View of the front wall, from the back of the room. The SUPER white board is for the projector, so I will not be writing there. I'll be writing on the whiteboard to the left of it.

My desk is in the back corner. They will install a bulletin board where the orange paper is :) 

My desk is to the left of the cabinets there. I painted the "Follow Your Arrow" quote after I saw that my neighboring teacher had painted a cool quote on her wall :) 

That's pretty much it for now. I'm hoping to get some more decorations up in the next week or two! 

And here are last week's outfits:
I'm actually shocked that I haven't worn the same outfit in 5.5 weeks....maybe I have too many clothes? hahahahahaha.....yeah right ;)

Hope ya'll have had a great week!