January 28, 2015

Starting Semester 2 off Right!

Well I can't believe it's already Semester 2!!! I have successfully taught a whole year of English 10 in a semester, and everyone survived ;) So yesterday, Tuesday, I got a whole new set of students for Semester 2, and I will also teach them a year of English in a semester. that's what you get with accelerated schools :)

Normally I start out the year with building the marshmallow tower on day one; but this year, I didn't have the energy to sort out the piles of toothpicks and marshmallows, nor make rice-krispies for treats. So this semester, I pulled out my Ice-Breakers packet and used several of those activities for the first day of school.


I started out with the Get to Know you Bingo game. Super fun and the kids were forced to interact with each other :)

Then I mixed it up with a sitting down game using Skittles from my Ice-Breakers packet:

We then played the game where you take off one shoe, throw it in the pile, and they have 45 seconds to find their shoe, untangle it, and put it back on correctly. Smelly, but funny to watch :)

Then we did one final game before going over the syllabus. This game I call Elbows to Elbows. It involves a lot of moving around and grouping up with people and it's super fun :)

Overall, the first day went really well. The kids had a "fun" first day of the semester/class, but we still had time to go over the syllabus, which is helpful for me :)

Hope you all have a good second semester!!!

January 24, 2015

Grammar Warm Up Packet

Let's talk about daily warm ups. Let's talk about mixing up our daily warm ups.

Normally, I do Greek/Latin roots as my warm up. They get one root word a day, they write it down, come up with an example word, and then we share out and they write down other people's ideas. Every two weeks [10 root words] we have a quiz in which they have to locate the root[s] within the words within a sentence. It's a great warm up and is helpful for SAT prep, CAHSEE prep, and life in general when having trouble deciphering a word.

However, I just started teaching a 2.5/3 week Argument Writing unit at the beginning of the school year/semester. I thought that during this time, I'd focus on writing related warm ups. I didn't want to do your basic worksheet with where's the noun, and how do you use a comma. I wanted something that was relevant to their writing, but would also keep their interests.

So I  created a 10-day [for me that 2 school weeks and 2 days -we meet 4 days a week in the classroom] grammar packet that contain ten different paragraphs from MODERN young adult novels! I took a paragraph from each novel, made some errors, and the students have to find the errors.

I used such novels as: Hunger Games, Divergent, The Maze Runner, The Giver, etc. [I know The Giver isn't necessarily modern, but it was just made into a movie, drawing in a whole new generation.] I think this will make grammar warm ups a little more fun, don't you?

Here's a few examples of what the packet contains:






So if you too are interested in mixing up your warm ups for a week or two, head on over to my TPT Store and pick up this great Grammar Warm Up Packet :)

January 21, 2015

And The WInner Is...

Wow! So many entries for the Ideas Notebook! Thanks everyone :)

And the Winner is:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats Roxie! Send me your mailing info to: talesofteachinginheels@gmail.com and I'll get this sent to you right away! 

January 20, 2015

Quick Tip Tuesday: Thank You Cards

It's time for another Quick Tip!

I was raised sending Thank You cards for any gift I received; I still send them to this day. I think it's a great way to let someone know that you appreciate the thought and effort that went into giving you a gift.

Sometimes though, it's nice to say "thank you" for the little acts of kindness people do for you. This is especially true in a school environment. We know we do a lot for the kids, and even our fellow teachers, but there are a lot of people behind the scenes that do a lot for us, and for the school to keep it running as smoothly as possible. I used to just write little "thank you" notes and leave them on people's desk and so on, but then, a few years ago, I came across a cute idea on Pinterest :) Don't we all just LOVE Pinterest?!

I took the idea and modified it a little, and made my own version. And I'm here to share this quick tip with your and give your free template so that you can make some cute Thank You cards to have on hand at school for when you need to thank someone for helping you out :)

 Click on this link to head over to my Printable Freebies page, and download the free PDF "Thanks a latte" card!


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!

If you take the time to make a few of these at the beginning of the year, and then half way through, you'll have great "thank yous" for when you need them. Hope this quick tip helps you out!

January 16, 2015

Fun little Giveaway!!

Well isn't it about time for a little giveaway everyone!!! I think so! :)

I've gotten a lot of likes [on both my personal and my blog Facebook] on the picture of my Ideas Notebook...and they're so useful...so I thought I'd give one away!!

You could win this Ideas Notebook:


Just enter through the Rafflecopter below, we'll choose a winner, and then I'll mail it to you ASAP! This notebook has 3 sections [dividers have folder slots] so that you can use it for multiple idea topics.

Good Luck!
Enter now through the 21st!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 15, 2015

Ideas Notebook

Every now and then I get some good ideas ;) I usually write them down on a sticky note, or a notepad, or some random piece of paper. I try to keep them together, I've even bought a notepad to try to consolidate them...nothing ever really stood out.

I just needed something inspiring, creative, and useful to keep my ideas in place. I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that is just paper...so I went to Target and bought a Five-Star notebook for $2.99 [white cover]  and decorated it with sharpies and a few scrapbook doodads :)

Here's my finished "Ideas" notebook!!

I'm loving black and gold lately!! I think I'm going to use it for Blog ideas and Teaching ideas...maybe separate it into two sections with a cute divider or ribbon placeholder.

Have fun making your own Ideas Notebook and get inspired!!!!! :)

January 13, 2015

Quick Tip Tuesday: Handout Management

It's Tuesday again, so that means I'm going to offer another Quick Tip! This tip relates to handouts...the millions of handouts we pass around all the time...and a convenient way to package them up neatly.

At the beginning of each semester [we are an accelerated program so we do a year's worth of English in a semester] I hand out my Tips & Tools Packet. This packet contains all the important handouts that will benefit the students throughout the class, and that they'll constantly be referring to.

Tips & Tools Packet in the arrow theme

This packet contains:
-A supply list
-MLA format
-MLA quote insertion
-Turning 1st person into 3rd person
-How to Annotate

Here are 2 example pages:


Whenever students have MLA questions, I tell them to look at their Tips & Tools Packet. Whenever they have annotation questions-Tips & Tools Packet. And whenever they have 1st or 2nd person issues in their academic papers, I tell them to look...you guessed it...in their Tips & Tools Packet. So helpful and saves me time!

Hope this tip saves you time too!

January 9, 2015

Freebie Friday: Blog Planner

It's Friday!!!!! Yippee! We made it through the first week back in school-Congrats! ;) And to celebrate that, I'm offering up a freebie.

I am a planner, however, I've not really been a planner when it comes to this blog. I've kind of just been posting when I had things to post about. I've seen a bunch of different planning ideas, but none of them really fit me. So I've created a blog planner page that might help you out if you're like me and just wanting some simple blog planning :) And it's FREE!

Here is the Blog Post Planner Template:

And here is a pic of my first blog planner sheet filled out:

Happy blog planning!!! :)

January 7, 2015

Quick Tip Tuesday

Hello blogging friends. Today I am starting something that I hope I will do once or twice a month: Quick Tip Tuesday [I got the name idea from my new favorite organizing blog: I heart Organizing]. Mine will be focused on quick tips for the classroom; things that are easy to implement and will save you time/energy.

Today's Quick Tip comes from today's personal experience: one where I wasn't feeling well, but had to go in to school anyway until they found a sub :/

Keep a Sub Binder on your desk at all times. 

This will serve soooooo many purposes:
1) This Sub Binder contains all sorts of pertinent information that will be helpful to someone new coming into your classroom. I have a welcome page, which just gives them a brief overview of me and how I run my classroom.

2) The Sub binder lists out your classroom expectations so that they know things like how you handle the bathroom, phones in class, etc. 
3) It contains Lesson Plans! If you know you're going to be out, type up your lesson plan and add it to the binder. If it's a last minute thing and you have no way to get plans to the school, have a "sub plan" lesson plan. I usually have a lesson that is easy for a sub to lead [maybe all they need to do is make copies of a worksheet or something-which an office aid can do]. Always keep that in your Sub Binder so that they can just pull it out if need be :)

Here are a few of the Sub Binder options I carry:
Turquoise Arrow Lesson Planner & Sub Binder
Bootcamp Theme Lesson Planner & Sub Binder
Gold Polka Dot Lesson Planner & Sub Binder

Just print these bad boys out and stick in a folder or put in sheet protectors and into a binder! I hope this Quick Tip is helpful...or provides you with a branch-off idea that better suits your classroom :)

January 3, 2015

2015 Goals

Instead of making resolutions, I am going to set some realistic goals for myself-both personally and professionally. I am hoping that by looking at them as goals and not resolutions, I'll be more inclined to focus on them and fulfill them. So here we go!



Personal Goals:
1) Try to let the little things go...maybe this will help decrease my stress level
2) Be happy with the now...stop focusing on what I want things to be
3) Balance my family, friends, and relationship better

Professional Goals:
1) Stop focusing on all the things that the school is doing "wrong" and be positive about my job
2) Focus on the kids...not the admin goals
3) Teach to the best of my ability...no matter how I'm feeling

What are your 2015 goals? Feel free to link up and share!

January 1, 2015

Currently: January 2015

Happy Twenty Fifteen everyone! I'm looking forward to a great year! I am determined to stay positive this year, no matter what may come my way. I am excited for what the future may hold and hope that it brings many blessings :) So I'll keep this one short and sweet...here is my Currently January 2015. Thanks Farley!