August 19, 2017

What I Teach The First Week Of School

Hello teacher friends! School is starting back for most of us, our students come back the 28th, and we are all getting ready to welcome students back to our classrooms. Many of us struggle with how to teach that first week.

Some schools have a modified first day, or even first week (in Middle or High School) to get students accustomed to their new schedules. This can be both good and bad. Good: you don't really have to plan whole lessons and you can ease back into the school year. Bad: you lose a week of teaching time and can't get into a routine yet.

I changed the way I did things a few years back, after being a BTSA Support Provider. I used to hit the syllabus, hit the rules, and get to it. I thought I needed to be strict and regimented because I was young(er) and taught high school. I found that yes, the students followed directions and we got stuff done, but they all thought I was strict and "graded too hard." Not that I should really care what high-schoolers think of me, but it did bother me that they couldn't see that I was helping them and setting them up for success.

So I decided to switch it up. Here's the new routine:

Day One: "Getting to know you" activities

This helps the students see that I can have fun and that this will be a welcoming classroom.  With 80 minutes, I had time for 4 or 5 ice-breakers, which really helped students get to know one another and me.

Day Two: Refresher ice-breaker and syllabus
We do a few, one or two, or even a new one like the acrostic poem with the name, to help students remember each other's names, get comfortable with each other again. Then I pass out the syllabus and we go through it. Take it home, have the parents sign it, and that's their first homework assignment.

Day Three: Baseline test or writing sample
On this third day, we go around and do the name game to help everyone remember names, mostly me, and this acts as our warm up. At this point, we usually have a baseline test or I have them do an in-class writing sample to see where they're at. Make the prompt interesting; not, what I did over summer.  You can then use this sample, no need to grade, just give credit for doing, to help you spend the weekend adjusting your lesson plans.

Day Four: Start the Argument Writing Unit/Smashbook Unit

This day I go over the Smashbook unit and have them start cutting and gluing (yay kindergarten!) the labels into their interactive notebook. They have to pick their novel to read, at home, and I show them samples, etc.

The Argument Writing Unit and the SmashBook go together. The SmashBook is their homework, and the Writing Unit is the classwork. It's only 3 weeks long, and prepares them to write more effective essays. I saw TREMENDOUS improvement from years past on the quality of writing when I started using this unit.

We don't have a Day Five the first week, but the next week is jumping right into the Argument Writing Unit and check-ins for the SmashBook unit.

So that's my first week in a nutshell. Hopefully you can get some fun ideas and have a great first week. And as always, I'm curious what you all do!!! Let me know in the comments below!

July 31, 2017

TPT BTS Sale is here!!!!

Use the code: BTS2017 to receive 25% off my ENTIRE store!!!

Happy Back To School!

July 30, 2017

Bloom's Taxonomy Leveled Questions

Hello everyone! Finals are wrapping up so I have some time to work on teaching "stuff." The Year-long Warm-ups are doing well and someone even won TWO for free from the Instagram/Facebook giveaway. Thanks to everyone who entered :)

This morning I was also able to upload a new product: Bloom's Taxonomy Leveled Questions for ANY Novel. 

I like the idea of leveled questions because it makes students work their way up from remembering simple facts, to actually analzying what they're reading. I also love that this doesn't have to be a "lesson plan." If you want to add these to your Lit Circles for those who finish their discussion early. Or perhaps this would be a good test review, or even an Exit Slip before they leave for the day. Your imagination is the limit :) There are even blank cards for each level so that you can use an expo marker to write in your own novel-specific question if you choose.

Check it out!

July 9, 2017

Christmas in July!

Good morning, everyone!

It's July and the heat is in full effect. So why not cool down with some Christmas?!

From the 10th to the 13th, I'll be hosting Christmas in July over at my TPT Store, and everything will be 20% off!! It's a great way to get prepared for the next school, and all you have to do is shop in your PJs :)

Even the Year-long Warm-Ups will be 20% off!!! What a steal :) Happy July everyone!

June 20, 2017

Teacher Toolbox Fun

I LOVE my Teacher Toolbox. I've posted about it before several years ago when I originally made it. Well, after years in the classroom and a move, it is time for a new look.
As you can see, several labels have fallen off or been misplaced. 

Keeping up with the latest trends, I decided to go with a cactus and succulent theme, which looks very fresh and clean with the white toolbox. 

I decided to laminate the front labels this time, using my new Scotch laminator that I love. I may even re-spray paint the toolbox a nice shade of green to mix it up :)

You too can have these cute labels for your toolbox! Just head over to my TPT Store and check out the Teacher Toolbox Labels. Enjoy!!!

June 18, 2017

Summer Planner & Instagram!

Hello everyone! My summer planner/organizer got a makeover and is ready for you to use! This planner will help you prepare for the next school year, and is designed to keep the stress to a minimum. By following the weekly checklists, you'll head into this next school year ready to take on a new class, and you won't be worried about lesson planning!

Here's a look at the planner:

And of course there are calendars for June, July, & August to keep you organized. 

I know I'm late to the party, but I decided to do an Instagram for my "brand." Just another fun way to connect with all of you that I can update a little more than the blog :) Check it out!

Hope you all are having a great summer so far, and I look forward to connecting with you via the gram ;)

May 30, 2017

Warm-ups for the Entire School Year: 225 prompts

It is finally finished!!!! I think I've been working on this project for 4+ months now (when I had a few free hours), and I am happy to say it is complete.

This download has 225 unique prompts to help students settle in to class and become focused on English. I know it is always a hassle to have to create new warm-ups everyday, and/or make sure you haven't repeated anything, and make sure it is somewhat standards-based. Well look no further :)

These warm-ups are standards-based, have been created by an English teacher and reviewed/edited by other English teachers, and will keep your students interested.

The warm-ups are in mostly black & white, and the parts that are in color still print well!

This download also comes with "teacher instructions" that explain the mindset behind the prompts and how to go about grading them.  So head on over to my TPT Store and check out the Year-long Prompts!!

March 20, 2017

First Day of Spring!

It's the first day of Spring and I have a spring freebie for you! This Spring Mad-Lib is just the ticket to help your students jog their memory when it comes to nouns, verbs, and adjectives.

Yes this may seem easy and for elementary students, but you'd be surprised how many middle and high school students forget what these bad boys are! I've literally had to remind seniors about verbs...probably because they have much more important things on their mind like annotating and college apps ;)

It's FREE! So what have you got to lose? Just head on over to my TPT Store and download the Spring Mad-Lib to use in your classroom today, or any time this spring :)

March 18, 2017

Beyond The Flashcards

Hello again everyone :) Spring Break is winding down, and I've been busy working on another product for y'all! I'm very excited to bring you another workshop...this one is all about elevating your study skills. With finals quickly approaching, this could be a great addition to your lesson plans!

This one-hour workshop will teach students all they need to know about taking effective notes, and what REAL studying looks like! I tried this workshop out on college students, and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Students loved learning different note-taking techniques, LOVED learning about backwards planning, and enjoyed discovering the 4 ways they can interact with a text. Interestingly enough, many said that this could have gone longer than one hour and they would have still been engaged! We also received feedback from a few professors who said it was a great presentation! Yay!

This could be a great workshop for a Study Skills class, a remedial class, or even a workshop for AP students trying to prepare for college.

This workshop is engaging and allows for interaction, including an activity for the students to participate in. 

There is also a handout for the end of the workshop that covers the main points discussed and allows students to fill in a few notes of their own:

There is even a script for you to follow, or become familiar with, so that you can get the most out of your purchase. The script also explains the reasoning behind some of the photos and why we put certain examples up :)

So head on over to my TPT store and check out Beyond The Flashcards! If you have any questions about it, email me at:

Have fun everyone!

February 21, 2017

Prep for Pay- a workshop

Remember all those workshops I've been working on?? Well the first one is up and available on my TPT store.  This workshop is about prepping your students for the real-world--resumes & cover letters.

This is an engaging one-hour PowerPoint Presentation; it's interactive, including templates and audience response questions. I've also provided a script, so to speak, on what I said during the presentation, allowing you to get a sense of the presentation and then change it as needed to match your personality.

I consulted many professionals when creating this Power Point, asking their thoughts on resumes, cover letters, and what stands out from the crowd. All these tips will help your students land that job they're looking for, whether they're in high school or college!

This could be used as either a one-hour lesson during your career unit, or you can host it as a workshop for students after school and/or include parents :)

Here's a few pictures showing you what you'll get:

A sample of the Cover Letter template students will receive. 

And this is one of the slides from the presentation.

Head on over to my TPT Store and enjoy presenting this workshop to your students! They'll thank you for it :)

February 5, 2017

I'm Back!

Man alive! I didn't post in January?!? I'm so sorry guys :( School and work started back up and taking 3 classes while working is proving to be more challenging than I thought it would be.

I have, however, been working on an awesome Workshop series at work, and will be getting some of those seminar/workshops/Power Points out to y'all soon.

In the meantime, I have some great products available on my TPT Store, and TPT is throwing a huge sale this week! I also have a Valentine's Freebie up there :)

740 × 400

Make sure you enter the code at checkout to receive an even bigger discount! My store will be 20% off, but if you enter the code: LOVETPT, you'll get 28% off :) Steal!

So keep your eye out for those seminars coming your way :)