I cannot believe we are 21 days until Christmas! Time is flying, and I am sure like many of you, I have tons (I mean, TONS!) of things to do before I go away visit my husband's family in Memphis, Tennessee.
I am currently in the middle of my empathy unit with my 8th graders; my mini-unit before we begin reading, To Kill a Mockingbird. One of my dear colleagues shared with me an advent calendar of the 24 Days of Kindness. I thought to myself, what a great addition to my empathy unit! Because I am so ambitious, I turned it up a notch and created, "The Advent Kindness Challenge". Below is the calendar:
I actually gave out the calendar yesterday, so we were behind a few days (opps!). Here are my rules for the challenge:
*For every challenge that they complete and can show evidence of (a picture, video, etc.), they get points for their group (I do a quarterly challenge with my students. They sit in groups, and groups gain points throughout the quarter. The group that has the most points at the end of the quarter wins ice cream on me!). In addition, they get a tally in my book. The student who has the most tallies by the end of the month gets a gift from me.
*Any of the verbal acts of kindness (1, 7, 14) they can fulfill, but they do not count as a tally or group points. This kids know that I want them to challenge themselves.
*The students can double up, complete as many, and repeat any of the acts of kindness, including over our Christmas break. If there is something that is not on the calendar (like donating to a charity), they can add it to the list. In addition, I tell them that they can go in any order that they like.
I use the Remind App, and by the afternoon yesterday, I already had three pictures sent to me, with three of my 8th graders showing that they were participating in acts of kindness. Check out the pictures!
*Note of kindness to a friend* *Hug coupon*
*One of my students left this on their neighbor's doors*
I am finding this so enjoyable, and I love that my students are being genuine, kind citizens. I love chain reactions of kindness. I will keep updating my pictures.
I can't believe we are half way through November, and we are weeks away from Christmas! My Puerto Rico trips seems light years in April, but I know it will sneak up on me!
I am so excited to be featured in the new Thanks & Giving eBook, featuring 25 TpT ELA sellers. The eBook has a page about the sellers and then a freebie that follows! There are actually two eBooks to download, and you can download them right here! If you download them, make sure to rate these eBooks!
A huge applause to Literary Sherri and Brain Waves Instruction for creating these beautiful eBooks!
SET 1-Just click on the image, and it will bring your right to the product!
SET 2-Just click on the image, and it will bring your right to the product!
Wait until you see all the amazing products you will be able to grab from these free eBooks! Enjoy!
Thank you so much to Rachel of Classroom Game Nook for putting this altogether and hosting. Rachel did an amazing job, and I know all of us appreciate her hard work. Thanks Rachel!
This blog hop is so much fun because you get to learn some of our "tricks" of teaching and collect creative and engaging "treats" from all of us! Go "door to door" and collect your goodies, and while you are there, enter all the giveaways!
I have TWO really great classroom management procedures that really do work, especially for the middle school classroom, though, it can be used at any grade level.
First, are the clothespins. Yup, clothespins. I actually saw this on Pinterest (I am in love with Pinterest), and I said to myself, What an awesome and creative idea!
Each student receives a clothespin to put their name on and to decorate. In the front of my room, I have baskets for each class. Every time the students walk into the room, they take their clothespin. When the bell rings for class, I easily can see who is missing by looking at the leftover clothespins. In addition, not only is this fabulous for attendance, but when students have to hand in a paper, project or essay, I have them clip their pin to their paper. Quickly, you will know who did and did not do their work!
My second "trick" is more of a classroom management trick. Every week I write "#OhNo" on my board for all of my periods. During the week if someone is misbehaving, talking, being disruptive or any other mishap, I take a letter away. Depending on the week, the students can lose no letters, one letter or all letters. If they lose all of the letters, they receive an extra assignment as a class. One of my classroom requirements is that a class is a group, team and a collaborative body. That means we are one unit, and students need to speak up to each other to work well. Therefore, the extra assignment affects everyone.
At the end of the week, however many letters (and #) the class has left is how many points they get. My students can get a total of 50 points for quarter (5 letters/10 weeks). The class that has the most points at the end of the quarter, wins ice cream on me! This little trick really does work!
Would doesn't love a great freebie! Come and grab some of my spooky, scary writing prompts for creative writing! These prompts are part of my larger product on Teacher's Pay Teachers.
Click on the image below to grab this prompts for FREE!
These prompts are really geared toward middle school and high school, and they are super creepy! Perfect to get your students in the mood for Halloween.
Giveaway! Giveaway! Giveaway!
Enter the RAFFLE below to win my Teachers Pay Teachers Product
This activity gives the students the opportunity to write Dracula’s perspective of his life using the music of Taylor Swift’s song, “Bad Blood”. We all know the stereotypes of a vampire, but what if that is not really the story? Your students have the opportunity to explore this question, creating a song parody with Dracula’s real story.
This activity explores perspective, creative narrative writing, tone, and parody.
*This lesson includes:
1. The full lesson plan with Common Core standards,
What does BOLO stand for? "Be on the Look Out"! Thank you to these wonderful bloggers for creating an awesome linky party for products that are in the works and ones you should look out for!
What have I been working on lately?
I am currently working on two products. First is my Halloween product: Dracula's True Story-Teaching Narrative Writing, Perspective and Parody. In this product, students will learn the meanings of these terms, and they will be asked to apply them to the activity. The second product I am working on right now is Centers in the Middle School Classroom-A Thorough Guide to Creating Centers for Your Classroom with Activities and Ideas. I thought I would give you a sneak peek preview of my Halloween product!
The activity ask the students to create a parody song to Taylor Swift's, "Bad Blood". Here they have to create a song that tells Dracula's true story about how he has come to be and how he is misjudged. How much fun will your middle school students have working on a song about Dracula!
The product will include the full lesson with the Common Core Standards, a ditto for the students to review parody, narrative, and perspective, Taylor Swift's song lyrics to "Bad Blood", a ditto to model the song lyrics, and colorful Halloween-themed ditto to display the final product.
Have any suggestions? I would love to hear from you! Would you like to see anything else?
Here are some sneak peek preview pictures of the product:
How would you like to win a copy of this product when it is finished? Enter the raffle, and win the product!
I hope everyone has had a great start to the new school year. This year I am putting a ton of effort into really having my students buy into the Interactive Notebooks. Last year was the first year I used them in my classroom, and it was quite a learning experience for me. This year, I have really tried to perfect them.
I wanted to share some pictures of where I have started from the beginning of September. I plan on updating each month to show you what I am doing, and how I am incorporating it into the interactive notebook.
This is my requirements sheet for English.
This is Reference Page # 2. I created this ditto to show the students how we set up a page with the date, title, page number, "I Can" statement, and an "I Learned" Statement.
The importance of the Interactive Notebook ditto.
The Table of Contents for the writing section. We glue in a table of contents for each section.
The first writing assignments my students do is writing about their favorite summer memory. I always model the work, so I wrote about my favorite summer memory as well.
If you ever have any questions about how to set up an interactive notebook, please feel free to e-mail me!
If you are like me and started school today, I hope you had a wonderful start! I greeted 116 students today, 7th and 8th grade, some of whom I had the year before. It was a wonderful day, besides the 90 degree heat and a sweltering classroom. Like most schools, we do not have air conditioning, and by the end of the day today, I felt like I ran a triathlon.
I thought I would share some of the pictures of my classroom.
This is To Kill a Mockingbird Tree-All the leaves of the tree are made out an old book. My theme is "Treeat" Yourself To a Great Book
A view from my desk.
My homework board
I also made the New Faces of TpT Ebook, and I am so excited! Each of the books features 20 new sellers, and we are all offering great freebies!
Well, it's that time of year for me. I go back to school tomorrow, and I get to meet all my new tweens on Wednesday. Thank you to Denise of #TeacherMom for hosting this linky party for the last 5 weeks!
For the last week, we are talking about writing tools. For the last 15 years, I have worked rigorously on creating tools for my middle schoolers to help them with writing. As much as we want to think so, most middle school students do not like to write, especially structured essays; therefore, creating exciting and engaging writing lessons, which simplifies the process, is always my first task.I have turned the parts of an introduction into a silly acronym-Give The Toddler The Cookie (Grabber, Transitional Sentence, TAG, Thesis Statement and Concluding Sentence). The acronym for the body paragraph is TALES-Topic Sentence, Add an example/Claim, Lift a line/Cite a line from the text, Elaborate and Sum it up. I have my students repeat and practice this over and over until it is engrained in their mind, and crazy enough, they can recall it very easily!
Secondly, I created writing maps to help my students "navigate" the rules to writing certain paragraphs. When laying the rules and expectations out like this, the kids find it so much easier to write, especially the introduction paragraph.
Lastly, we cannot forget practice, practice, rigor, and practice. The only way I feel my students improve is with practice and peer-editing. I love when my students peer edit, because not only are they constructively helping their peer, but they are also watching out for errors, grammar, writing techniques and punctation.
This week I am giving away all three of my writing maps!
Introduction map, Body Paragraph Map, and Conclusion Map
Enter the raffle below to win this awesome and productive product!
August 29th marks my 1 year TpT anniversary, and I could not be anymore grateful. This year, TpT exceeded my expectations two-fold, and I never expected my store to be as successful as it is. 262 followers later, and over 950 sales, I would say that is a great year! I can't wait to see what year two has in store for me!
Thank you so much everyone! I have met some incredible people along this journey, have learned so much about Social Media, and I have had a lot of smiles and late nights.
From August 26th-29th, my bundles and writing tools will be on sale for 20% off!
This week we are discussing language tools. Thank you again to Denise of #TeacherMom for holding this awesome linky party for the third week.
Because I teach middle school English, one of my largest language focuses is building my students' vocabulary. It drives me up a wall (sorry, I couldn't help the idiom) when my students continuously use the same, cliche, elementary words for description or even just in their vocabulary (good, bad, stuff, thing, etc.); therefore, every two weeks my 7th and 8th grade students receive a new set of vocabulary words.
Where Do I Find my Words?
I always pull my vocabulary words from the piece that we are reading. Whether it is fiction or non-fiction, there are always sophisticated words that I think are important to add to my students' vocabulary. Honestly, choosing random words doesn't help the students in the long run. Finding words that they are currently reading makes the words more applicable.
How Do I Implement These Words?
So, here is the catch for my students. I only focus on ten words every two weeks, which doesn't seem that bad. Wellllll...when they are quizzed on these words, they do not receive a word box. They have to know the spelling, the definition, and how to use to the word in context without anything in front of them. Yes, this does not happen over night, and that is why we work on these words for two weeks.
During week 1, the students define the words, write sentences, and draw pictures for the words. I use interactive notebooks in my classroom, so I incorporate the vocabulary words interactively. Here is an example:
The students cut the columns out for their notebook, glue them in, and the definitions go on the back, and the sentences go on the actually notebook page.
During week 2, my students are then instructed to incorporate these words into context by creating a short story with 7 of their words. Here is an example:
At the end of week 2, the students will take the vocabulary quiz. By now, my students are very familiar with the words, and I hold extra help, so the students are familiar and confident with the words.
I truly am extremely passionate about expanding my students' vocabulary, and I hope you are too! Therefore, this week I am giving away my first set of Vocabulary Interactive Notebook-10-15 weeks of vocabulary words, quizzes, and other activities!