August 29, 2015

New Blog Design Thank You

A HUGE shout out to the ladies over at Blogs Fit For A Queen for my new blog design!

I'd had the same design for almost 3 years, and it was in need of an update. I wanted something a little more classic; something that matched the secondary grades.

It's hard when teaching high school to find that balance between cute and fun, and not too cutesy for the guys, or too little kid-ish. I thought what these gals came up with was great!

I had also realized that the blog title didn't specify what I taught or what subject. I usually mentioned it in other places, but I think it's good to have it right up top there :)

So thanks again ladies! Make sure you go check out their blog, even if you don't need an update. They show all the blogs they've done, and maybe you'll come across one you'd like to follow!

Have a great weekend!

August 24, 2015

Mixed feelings on this First Day of School

It's the first day of school for so many people...but not for me. Feeling a little sad about that, but also a little happy.

I mean, let's be honest...there's positives and negatives to this whole move that I just went through. I'm getting to be with my future husband; we're getting married in October; we bought our first house; and I get to live in Texas, which I always wanted to do [I had this fantasy that it would be like the TV series Friday Night Lights with Connie Britton...only not as hot as it actually is.] Essentially, I'm getting everything I ever prayed for growing up. I've always wanted to be a stay at home mom, but we don't have kids yet, so I'm just at home.

Things I miss about work:
-My co-workers
-Commiserating over the same rough kiddos
-Seeing kids excited to learn
-The Renaissance Fair
-Actually Teaching

Things I don't miss about work:
-The politics going on at that school
-That moment when you find "that student" that is going to make your year miserable
-Grading a million, literally probably 1,000, essays
-Being exhausted

Even with all the things I don't miss....I still miss teaching. Maybe I miss it because I no longer have a pay check. For the first time in forever, I don't have a steady paycheck. That is very scary. Maybe I miss it because I'm currently bored and it is something to do. Maybe I miss it because it is my identity..."What do you do?" "I'm a teacher". What am I now?

I'm excited to sub, but it won't be the same. I'm only hoping it will be different, and a good different. An experience I won't forget :)

Happy First Day of School everyone!

August 20, 2015

For the days you just can't...

Ever had a day where you wake up and just can't? You just feel miserable and can't imagine teaching...but you didn't feel like this yesterday, so of course, there are no lesson plans all typed up and ready to go. Ideally, we'd have everything readily available so that a sub could teach our actual lesson, but sometime that just isn't feasible. So I think this is a pretty good solution :)

Well have no fear! I've got you covered with my standards-based  Substitute Teacher Lesson Plan Filler Pack!

I was thinking the other day as a sub, what am I going to do if the teacher doesn't leave anything? With nothing to do, that is when trouble can break out.

So I created a pack of emergency lesson plans I could bring with me for when I sub in an English or History class and there aren't any plans left. These plans are standards-based, so you won't be wasting a day with a movie or what not :) I'm going to put them in a binder and bring it with me every time, just in case. Then if I need to, make copies so the students have something to do :)

If anyone out there is subbing, this would be a great idea for you to bring with you. And if you're a teacher, leave this binder on your desk at all times so you can just ask the secretary to tell the sub to pick one! :)

Here is an example where students are asked to analyze a speech, using close reading techniques.

There are 6 activities total, in both Word and PDF format, along with a binder cover and binder spines. I think this is a great solution for the days you just can't :)

August 17, 2015

You Asked For It...

So here you go!

Informational Text Analysis Activities!!!! So excited to have this product available for y'all :)

Whether you use Common Core at your school or not, it is important to teach students how to analyze informational texts. So I have compiled some different texts, and created 2 different analysis handout versions you can use to analyze the text.

As you can see, 3 of the texts are historical, and 2 are modern, pulling from the New York Times' Room for Debate page. These will create some buy-in to the activity: one is about sports, and the other is about Internet addiction.

The two different handout options also allow you to choose which is best for your student population. If you teach the middle school level, you may want to use the one with pictures for some more buy-in. If you're teaching Seniors, you may want to get to the nitty gritty and go for the more basic of the handouts. Either way, your students will be interacting with the text in new and challenging ways.

Here's a glimpse of one of the articles [sports]:

And then students use one of the handouts to analyze the text. They'll be asked to give a brief summary of the article, relate the text to the world, relate the text to another text, find & explain rhetorical devices, and relate the text to themselves. This gives students a well-rounded view of the article and helps them see the importance of informational texts.

I have done something similar with my students last year, and it really challenged them to look at the text a different way, and through multiple lenses. I hope you enjoy it! Head on over to my TPT Store to download now :)

August 14, 2015

The Waiting Game

I hate waiting. I'm very impatient ;)

I got my fingerprinting done yesterday, and dropped off the form with HR. By the way, fingerprinting in Texas is different than fingerprinting in California. For one, they took my picture, for two, it was at a gun range/shooting range place. In CA it was at an agency or notary office building, not a gun range :) But at least it's done.

So now it's the waiting game. Waiting to get approved. Waiting to get my Sub ID #. Then waiting to get a job. I'm not expecting a job the first couple of weeks, but it would be nice to get some income rolling! It's just weird not having my own classroom.

I talked to some friends at my old school, and they were telling me about the first day back, who got my room, why did I leave my Donor's Choose doc cam? All that stuff. Made me miss them and teaching.

I've never subbed before. I know it will be different than teaching; less stressful I hope :) But I'm just anxious to get back out there :)

So for now, I'll keep working on TPT stuff, and I'm going to start making some items for subs too.

Let's pray I get approved soon...then at least I can make my cute notepad and business cards :)

Until next post! :)

August 11, 2015

Substitute Notepad & Business Card

I like doing fun "work" I'm working on designing my substitute notepad and business card :)

I think I've found the one I'm going with...not the typical apple notepad ;) I can't order them yet because I need to wait to get assigned my Sub ID # so I can put it on the notepad and card.

I'm also putting my new last name on it, because I don't want to do two different orders, so I'm putting my maiden name and my new last name :) I'm getting married in Oct [have I mentioned that before? ;)] so I figure that's close enough to the beginning of the school year to put the new name on the notepad and card.

Here's the design I'm thinking:


I still need the sub # for the notepad...

Front of business card: [still need sub #]

And back of business card:

I haven't ordered them yet, obviously, so what do you think? I personally love them :) Should I put the "7 years experience" bit?

August 9, 2015

Winners of the 400+ Follower Giveaway

Winner winner chicken dinner!!! We have our winners ladies and gentlemen :)

Thank you so much to everyone who participated in the giveaway...I wish you all could win!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Amy-When you email me with your product of choice from my TPT store, please also provide your address so I can mail you the Starbucks gift-card :)
Jen- Email me which planner set you'd like :) 

My email is:

Thanks again everyone for participating!

August 8, 2015

Substitute Orientation

So I went to my Sub orientation on Thursday. What an awakening. I do not want to speak badly or put down anyone, so I won't. :)

I will say that I think we need to change the way we look at our Sub system. The orientation did not really talk about teaching strategies or how to teach.

I think it would be great if there was some sort of training like that. For instance, if you've not taught before or have been subbing for less than 3 years, you have to go to a one-day training that teaches some basic strategies. Maybe it talks about what's important for each subject/grade, how to set the tone in the classroom, etc.

I just know how the sub things works from a teacher standpoint. I literally had a sub who brought his guitar and played music the whole time. Luckily I had set a good tone for the year and *most of my students did their assignment while he played...some even asked to go in the hall and work.

That's the kind of stuff I'm talking about...we should tell subs that they MUST follow the lesson a high school teacher, I don't have time to waste a day. I used to feel like I couldn't get sick because I knew it'd be like blowing off a day :/

I'm hoping I can change that and be the kind of sub that teachers want :) I think I'm going to make a little notepad with my name and sub ID on it so I can leave notes for the teachers. I might make a little business card to leave them to, that way if they like what I did, they can request me :)

What do y'all think? Does that sound like a good idea?

August 6, 2015

And for the Middle School Teachers...

You too get an ELA Standards checklist!! :) LOL I feel like get a checklist, you get a checklist, everybody gets a checklist!!!!

I created the ELA Common Core Checklist for 8th Grade:
Just like the 9/10 and 11/12, there is a checklist for each category of ELA, as well as 7 page dividers to choose from depending upon which lesson planner you have :)

And lastly, for the Checklist for 7th Grade teachers:
 Enjoy my Middle School friends!! Hope this is helpful for you :)

August 5, 2015

400+ TPT Followers GIVEAWAY!!!

It's GIVEAWAY time!!! Thank you so much everyone for following my store on TPT...all 400+ of you! I can't believe it :) I love that we all have a place where we can create and share products to help each other out in the classroom!

So here's the deal! Enter the Rafflecopter below, a few different options to earn multiple entries, and get ready to win! Enter now, through Saturday

1st Place Winner: A $10 Starbucks gift-card and ANY PRODUCT OF YOUR CHOICE from my store...that's right. Even a $15 product...FREE!!

2nd Place Winner: Any Lesson Planner/Binder Theme of your choice...FREE!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Thanks for entering!!! Good luck!!! 

August 4, 2015

ELA Standards available!

I spent most of today making two new products! I wanted to get them up on TPT while the sale was still going so you could take advantage of the reduced price :)

I know that a lot of teachers keep track of the standards they cover, either for personal use or because their school requires it. I thought I'd make a great checklist for you with everything in one place and easy to access.

I also made sure it could be something like an "add on" to the Lesson Planners/Teacher Binders I sell. Everything will still be in the same theme that way :)

So here's what I did:
For Grades 9/10, there's a 10 pages checklist of all ELA Common Core Standards, and 7 different cover options to choose from :)
Each cover option, or page divider if you will, goes with one of the 7 themed Planners I sell.

I did the same thing for Grades 11/12 as well...a separate item to purchase.
I made the main photo look a little different for the different grades :)

They're only $1.50 on my TPT Store, but today only they're another 28% off!

August 3, 2015

Currently August!

It is officially the month of the dreaded Back to School. That phrase has a whole new meaning to me this year. For the first time in 8 years, I didn't run to Target for back to school supplies; I'm not replenishing my printer ink at Office Depot; I'm not at Michael's buying cute decorations...because I don't have a classroom this year.

While subbing will be a nice, stress-free break, it is very weird to be a teacher without a home [so to speak]. So here's to the first Currently of the new school year...can't wait to see what it will bring!

Thanks Farley, for hosting!

Happy August everyone!!

August 2, 2015

TPT Back To School Sale! August 3 & 4

Is it that time already? Back to School?! Well I know not everyone is excited about it; if you're in the Fort Worth area and want to take a day off right away, I'd be happy to sub for you ;) LOL

Anyway, I'm joining TPT in their site-wide sale of 20% off; but, if you use the code at checkout, you'll get 28% off all my products!!!! Huge deal :) Just use "bts15" for 28% off at checkout! :)

So head on over to my TPT Store today, do a little preview shopping and make a list of all the items you'd like to purchase to help make your teaching experience a little bit easier this year :)

May I suggest a cute lesson planner/sub planner like this one?

Or how 'bout start the school year off with a great writing unit, combined with the Smashbook project as homework, that will really refresh their writing memories and keep you from pulling your hair out when grading essays ? :)

So have fun browsing all the Back to School Sale products...and don't forget Back to School'll need these little apples to help you get what you need for your classroom...for free from parents! It comes with blank apples as well so you can type in whatever else you'd like!

Happy Back to School!!!