How to Save Your Teacher Sanity During the Holiday Season

How to Save Your Sanity During the Holiday Season

Happy holiday season everyone! I have to give a huggggeeee shout out to Amanda Cardenas from Mud and Ink Teaching for hosting this 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway and fabulous blog hop!  I hope you have been checking out all the fabulous blogs, tips and tricks in surviving this holiday season as well as entering all the AMAZZZZING giveaways.

Let's get to it. I find the holiday season to be very stressful.  Between working full time, running around, decorating, Christmas cards, being a mom, shopping and ordering presents, some days I want to pull my hair out! However, I have very nifty ways of saving my sanity (and hopefully yours) in and out of the classroom.

1.  Starbucks & Caffeine-

Thank goodness that I have this coffee shop a minute from my house.  I can pull out of my driveway, and in a quick minute be at this great coffee shop to pick up my favorite holiday drink: Peppermint Latte.  Have you tried this delicious drink? If you haven't, you definitely need to try it.  It has the refreshing, warm taste of the season, and it is extremely relaxing.

2.  A Nice Hot Bath with my Favorite Bubble Bath:

One of may favorite ways to destress is to take a nice, hot bath with my favorite bubble bath from Deep Steep.  I have tried a few of their products and bubble bath products, and all of them are scrumptious and relaxing. First, they smell incredible. Secondly, the bubble bath leaves your body feeling refreshed. I loveeee the lavender bubble bath, as well as the mint one.  You definitely have to check them out.

3.  A Comfy Body Pillow-

One of essential destress activities is to curl up with a good book; however, have you curled up with a good book and an amazing body pillow?  Talk about total relaxation.  I actually got my body pillow from BJ's/Sam's Club.  Though you cannot buy the body pillow online, it is currently in stores, and it is only $14.99!  Here is the link. I would definitely get yourself one of these goodies if you live by one of these stores.  If not, Amazon offers them for very reasonable prices.

4.  A Fantastic Playlist-

Now I know that our taste in music differs, but I do know everyone does love a soothing, calming playlist.  I have a 1/2 hour drive to work every day, and for me, this is my relaxation sometimes.  I have a chance to regroup, think, and all the rest.  This is when I put on some music that completely puts me in the zone.  I throw on Pandora, and if you want an awesome station, check out Ron Pope.  All the artists that are linked to this station are fantastic.

5.  Friends & Family:

One of my guarenteed stress relievers is spending time with my friends and family.  My friends and I already have a date planned during the holiday break, so we can let loose, drink a glass of wine, laugh and relax.  We know laughter is the best medicine, and friends have the ability to make you do just that over and over!  Right now, text or call your friends, and make a date for sometime over the vacation. Believe me. You won't regret it.

Have a wonderful and healthy holiday.  I wish you all the best! Thank you so much for reading my post, and I hope you check out all the wonderful posts on our website! For the 10th day of December, I am teamed up with Two Peas and a Dog.  Hop on over right here!

If you haven't had a chance to enter the giveaway, enter it here!↓

Creative Writing--The LOVE, the TIME, and AMAZING PROMPTS to Inspire Your Students

Hi Everyone!

I hope everyone is well, school is smooth, and things are well, quiet :).  For many of us, things never slow down, especially if you have kids, your children's homework, sports, and all the rest. Do you believe it is 9 Fridays until Christmas?!?!?!? Every year, I say the same thing: "Where the heck does time go?!?!".

How do I deal with creative writing and the use of time?

I LOVE creative writing, and so do my students.  I love creative writing to be part of my classroom.  It is a time to break away from all the "musts", and let the students use their imagination and creative spirit to write.

As Halloween is upon us, and it is one of my favorite times for my students to creatively write, I wanted to write a post about how much I love creative writing and teaching my students to creatively write; however, we all run into our arch nemesis called TIME.   In addition, where do you find engaging, interesting, exciting creative writing materials?  I may have a few answers for you.

First, you probably wonder how do I fit creative writing into my already hectic English schedule?  Let's face it.  We don't have time to spend a few days on a creative writing assignment, right?  Between novels, literary terms, close reading, non-fiction reading, grammar, how do I fit it in? Well, I tackle this by assigning the writing prompt as a bell ringer.  As the students come into my class, they know that the bell ringer is their first task of the day, every day.  Normally bell ringers consist of grammar, quotation analysis, idioms, and editing, but on the occasion, I post a prompt.

On my Smart Board, I display the prompt. On a normal day I give them a few minutes for regular bell ringers, but with the creative writing tasks, I give them anywhere from 5-10 minutes to get started.  This is a decent start for them, and then I ask them to finish the creative writing at home.  This way, the students are still able to enjoy the creative writing aspects of English class without breaking the clock.

I also try to do more creative assignments around holidays. Take Halloween for example.  Because my school shortens the periods for the day because of our Halloween parade, this is a perfect time to lets students use their creative outlet and energy (!!!), and put it down on paper.

Awesome & Engaging Writing Prompts

Are you sick of the cliche, boring writing prompts? Want to engage your students into mind-blowing, exciting prompts?  Check out these Tumblr prompts.

Tumblr Creative Writing Prompts

You can easy copy and paste these onto your Smart Board templates and enlarge them to display them on the board.  Tumblr has a fabulous selection of these visual prompts, and they all have the Common Core Standards listed on the prompt! Score!

Here are two of my creative writing products that I do with my students each year.  As I said, creative writing is so much fun to do around different holidays. Click on the pictures to go right to my store!

I hope you enjoyed this post, and you can some of the information to help engage your students!
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"You Never Know Someone Until You Walk in His/Her Shoes"-An Empathy Lesson

Hi Everyone!

It has been ages, I mean weeks (!!!), since I have blogged! It has been a hectic start to the school year. Not only did I go back to teaching, my son started second grade and football (3x a week!). Homework, planning, and limited family time have taken precedence over my second love-my store, my brand, and my blog. Trying to balance everything is quite a feat!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful and successful start to the school year.  Just so you know, I am still participating in the Secondary Scope Series on Periscope.  You can see me, along with some other amazing teachers discussing ingenious lessons, technology, and ideas on a weekly basis.  For the month of October, we are going to be discussing best lessons and best practices.  If you are interested, check out our Facebook page right here!

I wanted to share a really awesome lesson and activity that I did with my 8th graders.  Our entire English Language Arts theme for my 8th graders is empathy.  Our main novels and literature (To Kill a Mockingbird, "Flowers for Algernon", and The Diary of Anne Frank) are all linked to the theme of empathy, and we constantly tie in the theme, short stories and articles that tie into the theme.

One of the first activities I do with my students in order to introduce the theme is, "Walking in My Shoes."  I introduce the infamous Atticus quotation from To Kill a Mockingbird, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."  Here, I teach "Perspective-Taking Empathy", which is the ability to put oneself into a person's "shoes" and see things from his/her perspective.

From there, I introduce my shoe activity.  On the front side of the shoe, my student write down ten things that people would not know about them unless they told you.  This ranges from sports, passions, interests, favorite movies, broken bones, and other interesting facts.  On the back of the shoe, I have my students choose a line from a song that best represents him/her (I assign this as a homework assignment, and students are instructed to bring in the song lyrics to school, so they are able to write.)  You would be amazed at the lyrics the students use to represent themselves.  They range from popular pop songs to 70's rock!

In addition to them choosing a line, the students have to explain why they chose the line.  The students have to give a detailed and thorough analysis of the line and relate it to their life.  I am usually blown away by the amount of perseverance and strength many of the students have and how much they are willing to share with me regarding some of their struggles, obstacles and future goals.

For the final presentation of the two-part activity, the students get to choose their shoe template on which they want to complete their final piece.  On one side of the shoe, the students write their ten things about themselves, and on the other side of the shoe, they write their song lyric paragraph.  The students love coloring in the shoe, and they are usually very creative with them.  As you can see from above, the shoes come out a-mazzzzzzing! After I grade the shoes, I hang them up in my room in a "walking" pattern.  

I absolutely love this activity, and I hope you do too!  The students really enjoy this activity, and they are always awfully proud of their shoes.

If you are interested in the full lesson and activity, here is a link to the product in my store!

If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me!  

Teacher Hack: Clothespins-Classroom Management and Attendance!

Hi Everyone!

This past Monday, I Periscoped on my second teacher hack-clothespins in the classroom. I am a firm believer in, "Work smarter I wanted to share with this awesome 4 in 1 hack that will make your classroom run smoothly and efficiently.


1.  You will need a clothespin for each student

2.  A basket for each class

3.  Markers (thin)

Here are the easy directions! In addition, included are the four genius ways that these clothespins will help you save time.

Here is a picture from my classroom last year.

Thank you so much.  I hope you will subscribe to my newsletter!  See the top left to receive updates, products and freebies!

How-To Tutorial on Enlarging (REALLY BIG) Clipart & Fonts and Printing Them for Your Classroom

Hi Everyone!

Have you ever wondered if you were able to enlarge a picture or font beyond the 8 1/2 x 11 standard page?  How cool would it be if you could print a larger version from any printer?!?! Well, you can, and it is actually very easy!

A few days ago, I did a Periscope tutorial (Find me on Periscope at @kim_englishohmy) on how to do this, but I will give you the quick version below.

Here are the directions:

If you would like to view and print this from Google drive, here is the LINK.

Stay tuned to my latest news, products and freebies by signing up for my newsletter.  Click on the link HERE, and fill out the Google Doc. 

Got Nonfiction? My Go-To Nonfiction Article Sites!

Hi Everyone!

Soooooooooo... It's August, and it is time to start thinking about going back to school, at least for the Northeast teachers. If you are an English teacher, or frankly any teacher, we are always on the hunt for nonfiction and information articles.  I use nonfiction articles every single week, and it is sometimes very difficult to find high-interest articles for the kiddos; therefore, I wanted to compile some really awesome and helpful websites for teachers looking for engaging, informational texts.

1. Kelly Gallagher-if you have not discovered Kelly Gallagher's "Article of the Week" yet, you need to see this!  Not only does Kelly have an amazing archive of articles, but he includes awesome questions with the texts.

2. Vale Middle School-Vale Middle School uses some of Kelly Gallagher's articles, but what is spectacular, is that Vale's questions are editable in Word!

3. Google News Archives-This is a searchable archive of newspapers articles that date back to the 1700's.  Search any subject of interest!

4.  Wonderopolis: This a great website where kids ask questions about certain subjects, and the site answers the questions with a short, informational piece about the topic. Great for a quick read.

5.  DOGO News: A site that empowers students and kids to read interesting and engaging articles centered around their age level and interests.

6.  NewsELA:  I love this site!  Not only does it provide very interesting articles, the site also levels the articles for you! 

7.  Tween Tribune: Another great website.  Like NewsELA, the text are leveled for your different classes.

8.  Sign up for free, and receive great articles with reading comprehension questions and lessons!

9.  1000 articles and essays! 

10.  YOUR LIBRARIAN!  Your librarians have great avenues to find you non-fiction articles.  My librarian is an amazing resource, and she has access to so many websites.  She is my GO-TO girl!

I hope this is helpful to you!  I use all of these websites.  

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Periscope-A Secondary Scope Series-Back to School

Hi Everyone!

How exciting is this!?!? I am participating in a Secondary Scope Series on Periscope all of August.  I, along with four secondary teachers (Mud & Ink Teaching, Amanda Write Now, Cullom Corner & Bespoke ELA) will be sharing their best tips and strategies for back to school for the whole month of August LIVE on Periscope and in our Facebook group.

#1-Join our Facebook Group to Stay Up-to-Date

First, you are going to want to join our Facebook group to stay tuned to all the goodies, announcements and other fun items.

#2-How Am I Going to Watch the Series?

  • Make sure that you have downloaded our calendar to see when everyone is presenting!

  • Download the app Periscope (you’ll need a Twitter account to do so).  Downloading the app does NOT require you to be a broadcaster!  Certainly you are welcome to start broadcasting yourself, but having the app gives you access to viewing Periscopes from across the globe!
  • On the bottom right corner of the screen, tap the icon of the people.
  • Now, hit the magnifying glass (search) icon and search our hashtag: #secondaryB2S.  Here you will find all of our broadcasts if you ever miss one live!
  • Also, search our usernames and FOLLOW us so that your phone whistles when we go LIVE!

It all begins with Mud & Ink Teaching on August 1st! Woo Hoo!

My first LIVE Periscope will be on August 8th at 6pm CST/7pm EST. I am going to be sharing a GENIUS idea with CLOTHESPINS! I am also going to be sharing a giveaway if you sign up for my newsletter, as well as some other goodies!

TUNE IN! See you then!

So There is a Time When I Should Post?!?! Social Media Tricks for the Most Clicks & Views

Hi Everyone!

I would say over the last three or four months, I have tried to spend a little more time on the social media outlets, getting my name out there, products and so forth. I finally feel comfortable with the products I am selling, so I transitioned my focus to spending more time networking on social media.

 I just became an Instagramer (Proper Noun?), and as I scroll through peoples' feeds, some other teachers have thousands (!!!) of followers.  I keep asking myself, how the heck did they do that! Well, one of my TpT's friends, Jeanine, from Third Grade Giggles and Kristin from Samson's Shoppe, explained to me that there are actual times that are the best times to post! I never had a clue!  Here is some information I found that useful when posting to your social media outlets:

1.  Check out the app, When to Post.  I have it on my iPhone, and it gives me the optimal times of the day to post for Instagram.

2.  According to, 80% of American live in CST or the EST, so we have to be aware  of who is either behind us or ahead of us.  Honestly, being an East Coast gal, I never think about the rest of the nation still being in bed when I post!  Who is reading my posts if I am posting at 7am in the morning?!??!

In addition, the best time to post on Facebook is Saturdays & Sundays, with the highest engagement at 32%, while on Thursdays and Fridays, it is usually an 18% engagement.  What times are the best to post? 9am, 1pm and 3pm.  According to the Huffington Post, people receive their most engagement on Facebook from 1-3pm and 7-9pm.  I am definitely going to be paying attention to  this!

Did you know that the best time to post on Pinterest is between 8-11pm on a Saturday? People receive the most repins during this time.  I never thought about that when I am posting teacher-related material.  I guess people tend to browse when they are sitting on their couch winding down at night.

Best time for Instagram? In the morning (8-9am) on a Monday or a Thursday! 3-4pm is the worst time to post. 

As many of our TpT friends are enjoying the Orlando, I wanted to share a pick-me-up to all, including myself, who are left back.  Here is my FREE Social Media Calendar to help you plan out your posts for the month!

I would greatly appreciate it if you comment on this blog post and share this with someone!

If you want to keep up date with my posts, please join my newsletter on the upper left hand corner.  I will be giving away freebies and other goodies there, as well as keeping you up to date with my latest!

I hope that this information has been helpful to you! 

Writing Wednesday-Tips, Tricks and All the Rest

Hi Everyone!

Sorry...It has been awhile since I have posted!  June has been absolutely CRAZZZYYY, but I am glad to say that I am officially on summer break! Woo hoo! I can't wait to just lazy around my backyard and enjoy fun explorations with my 6-year-old. I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start!

Lit with Lyns is hosting this fun and educational "Writing Wednesday" blog post!  Every Wednesday, you will be able to find some fun tips and tricks that I have explored when teaching my students writing.

One of my successes with teaching my students writing is teaching the funny, yet creative, acronyms when it comes to memorizing an introduction and a body paragraph. For the introduction, I teach them the acronym, "Give the toddler the cookie".  These are the five components of how I teach the introduction paragraph-Grabber, To explain (elaborate on the grabber), T.A.G and the Thesis Statement, Concluding Sentence.  Crazy enough, it works! I drill it into their head at the beginning of the year, and all year long we continuously recite this silly acronym.  It truly helps them understand the parts of the introduction.

I do the same with the body paragraph, only with the acronym, TALES.  TALES stands for-Topic Sentence, Add an Example, Lift a Line/Citation, Elaborate, Sum it Up.

If you would like to check out some of my writing maps with these fun acronyms, check them out at my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Click on the image!

Thank you so much!

This Week! June 5th-June 12th-TpT Meet Up~Giveaways!!!

Hi Everyone!

I had so many wonderful things happening this week that I wanted to share with you.

Today, I had the chance to meet up with some wonderful Teacher-Authors of Teacher Pay Teachers for the New York-New Jersey Meet Up.  We had a wonderful time together, and we met at a really cute restaurant in Brooklyn, NY.

Here was our schedule:

 We had the chance to talk about marketing, tracking our sales, success tips, and a ton of other fun items.  In addition, Teachers Pay Teachers provided some nice goodies, and we exchanged great teacher tools, like my favorite pens below!!!

Here is a great picture of all of us! I am so happy to meet and mingle with these very wonderful, talented ladies! It was such a pleasure.

Also this week, I am participating in two giveaways, which you can enter right here!

Kelly, An Apple for the Teacher, is hosting an awesome $25 TpT gift card giveaway! Enter here!

Lit with Lyns, just hit 500 followers on TpT and has put together a huge collaborative giveaway!

Enter here!

Such an amazing week to be part of all these wonderful items!  Happy almost summer!

My Guest Post is Live! Check It Out!

Hi Everyone!

As noted yesterday, I am guest blogging on Rachel Lynette's Minds in Bloom blog, and I am discussing my experiences with Genius Hour in my classroom.

Make sure to check it out.  I have some freebies and dittos to share with you in making your experience with the project easier.

Thank you!

I Am Guest Blogging on Minds In Bloom-Implementing Genius Hour in Your Classroom!

Hi Everyone!

I am super excited to announce that I will be guest blogging on Rachel Lynette's, Minds in Bloom blog on Tuesday, May 10th!. Oh, everyone must know Rachel!

She is the master of task cards on TpT, and she has over 45,000 followers on TpT (soooooo jealous). Rachel's blog is a vast world of knowledge and wonderful resources.

My guest blog is about my experience with Genius Hour in my classroom. In my blog post, it discusses the implementation, research, and free products if you would like to try this in your classroom.

Please check it out tomorrow! This link will not be live or available until May 10th!


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