Prize Packs Rule Back to School! Goodies for the Classroom!

It's time! Many people are going back to school, and Teachers Pay Teachers is running their huge sale!  Starting August 2nd, you will have the chance to enter in some amazing prize packs for all different subjects!

Come join us August 2-8 !


"Building" Awesome Writers & a Freebie!

Building Great Writers

Over the past 15 years of teaching English to middle school students, I have worked diligently and rigorously on alleviating my frustrations when teaching and reviewing writing.  Every year I start out with the same expectations (alright, maybe a dream) that my students will write an articulate first essay that is sprinkled with strong verbs and adjectives, constructed with a solid structure, and speckled with flowing sentences that are craftily placed. However, my hopes soon become a pipe dream, as my students still struggle with the same skills-writing a solid introduction, conclusion, and lengthening their sentences to sound more fluid, refined and sophisticated. I know they learned these techniques the year prior, and I ask myself, why are these skills not sticking, and what can I do to fix this…quickly? I thought I would share with you how I have learned and created successful and fluent writers, as well as the techniques, tricks, and tips that seem to work.

First, my motto is to engage, simplify and excite.  Let me be frank.  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, scaffolding the writing process is so important, and as teachers, we can’t always expect them to know everything. One can easily use the metaphor that writing is a building process.  A teacher has to start from the foundation to build higher-level writing techniques; in other words, a teacher has to start with the basics, practice the basics, to move to the next step or floor. Therefore, I start all the way in the basement with more sophisticated words and sentences. We work on replacing “dead words”, lengthening sentences with compound and complex sentences and choosing more sophisticated words. In essence, these small techniques produce better paragraphs.  I then move onto technique and structure.  I build the foundation of an introduction, a body paragraph and a conclusion. This does not happen overnight.  This is a good week and half process that consists of a lot (A LOT) of practice and mastery.  Once we practice this, we move onto the harder items like citations and elaboration.

Lastly, when I was in elementary school, I distinctly remember practicing skills repeatedly until I mastered the skill (Do you remember writing the script “S” over and over?).  Unfortunately, because we are short on time and our curriculums are more complex and riddled with work, we don’t have the time to spend with our students to teach them how to master a skill.  In education today, it is about teaching a skill, quickly moving onto the next subject and covering the curriculum.  I firmly believe in mastering a skill.  How can I expect my students to write well if I only taught and practiced the techniques of writing once? Therefore, when I teach writing, if I have to quiz my students every day for two weeks on the acronym “TALES” and what it stands for, this is what I will do until all the students get it correct and MASTER the skill.

 FREEBIE!         Right from the beginning of the year, I have my students write out a model-planning page for themselves, that they can apply to any class.  As a “Do Now”, I will have them practice writing their planning page over and over without any assistance, until they have it completely memorized. Sometimes I will grade their planning page, and sometimes I will have them just write it out for practice.  All in all, the repetition is essential to commit these items to memory.

If you notice, there is a common theme here, and that is scaffolding, practice, and repetition.  If you are constantly and consistently jogging your students’ memory on the same skills, it will eventually become embedded in their brain bank. It’s easy: build a writing structure for your students, practice, and repeat the process again until it is mastered. You will then begin to see the amazing changes in your students’ writing.

Come check out my Teacher's Pay Teachers Store:
Or, come check out my blog!

Our 2nd ELA Twitter Chat

If you have a Twitter account, come join us tonight for the 2nd Twitter chat with middle and high school students!  #2ndaryELA

Last week, two great bloggers, Literary Maven and 2Peas and a Dog, held our first Twitter chat.  I learned so much and met so many great teachers from around the country.  We were bouncing ideas around, and I learned some great ideas from some of the other teachers.

You have to come check it out!

Be sure to join us 8:00pm Eastern Time!


Great Twitter Chat Last Night with All My New ELA Friends!

If you are on Twitter, you will have to join us for our next middle school/high school ELA chat next Tuesday night at 8:00.  #2ndaryELA

Last night we discussed our favorite resources, books, and best practices.  It was so nice to speak to other ELA teachers from around the country, and also get some new ideas for the upcoming year!  All of the teachers who joined us had awesome ideas, and I look forward to chatting next week. I learned about some new websites that I have to check out and some great new book titles. 

Thank you to 2peasandadog and Brynn Allison of Literary Maven for hosting the chat.  Be sure to to check out their blogs!

***I am guest blogging on StudentSavvy blog today! Be sure to check out my tips and tricks of writing, as well as a freebie I am offering!***

Join us!


I'm Guest Blogging! Check Out My Guest Blog (with a Freebie!) on Writing Development

Hi Everyone!

I am so excited to say that I am guest blogging on Student Savvy blog 
on Wednesday, 6pm EST/3pm Pacific Time (Thank you Suzy!)

I wrote a blog post about my successes with writing development, as well as tips, tricks and techniques that really work with writing.  Even though I teach middle school, the writing development tricks and tips can apply to any grade!

Please join me, and check out the blog post!


A Much Needed Teacher-vacation!

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer vacation, as I am enjoying my much needed vacation in Virginia Beach. I am still working like a crazy woman in TpT products, and I happy to say that my almost year anniversary has paid for my February Puerto Rico trip! Hard work pays off! As I sit on my beach chair, I just joined Twitter, though I really don't know what to do with it! @kim_englishohmy Enjoy! Kim

200 Followers on Teachers Pay Teachers! FREE Product Celebration! Raffle Giveaway!

Hi Everyone!

I have not even been selling on Teacher's Pay Teachers for a year yet (September will be a year!), and I hit 200 followers yesterday!  This is a great milestone for me!

I have to say, Teacher's Pay Teachers have exceeded so many of my expectations.  I never expected to sell as much as I have, and I have collaborated with so many fantastic and creative teachers.  I am so proud of my success, and I look forward to what my year two brings.

Since I have hit 200 followers, I thought I would offer one of my usually priced items in my store for FREE for the next 24 hours!  Hurry! Come and grab it!


I use this map to teach my 7th and 8th graders how to successfully and thoroughly write a body paragraph.  There is an easy acronym to memorize the parts of the paragraph!
CLICK on the PICTURE to link to the free download! 

I would greatly appreciate it if you rate the product! Please also look around at my other products!

Enter the Giveaway Below!

The purpose of this product is to make your students more proficient writers with weekly assignments, with an end assignment of a full paragraph.  Each two-week unit consists of a non-fiction article, a writing prompt, daily assignments, and lessons.  Also included in this 130-page bundle is rubrics, step-by-step lessons, and other useful pieces.  This is an entire year's worth of writing!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Enter the raffle to have a chance on winning this product!

Thanks so much for all your support!

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