5 Ways to Show Your Students You Love Them During the Thanksgiving Season

It's Thanksgiving season, and I know teachers are always looking for fun goodies to give away to their students during the holiday season. These amazing crafts and "punny" ideas are a perfect way to show your students how much you love them because we really do.  We know some of our students need our extra love, and these little gifts are perfect in showing how grateful we are for our students.

1. Printable Extra Gum Thanksgiving Gift:
Ok.  How cute are these, and Vanessa of See Venessa Craft gives this printable away for FREE.  I am in love with this cuteness!

2.  Notes:
Sunny Day Family created these adorable notes, and as teachers, we can get very creative with these.  We can attach them to a homework pass, a lollipop, or other entertaining or yummy treats. Grab this free printable below:

3. Candy Gram Printable:
Are you looking to give your students something delicious to say "thank you"?  Check out these candy gram printables!


4. Mayflower Munch:
Now this is a very reasonable, cost-friendly gift.  Why not tie in a non-fiction article about the First Thanksgiving, pilgrims or the Mayflower with this adorable Mayflower Munch? Popcorn, marshmallows, pretzels, and some other yummy treats makes an ideal treat for your students.

5. Turkey Treat Bags with a Printable Tag:

Here is another cost-efficient, delicious gift for your students, and it is super easy.  All you need is some tissue paper or napkins, construction paper, plastic eyes and candy corns, and viola! Easy-peezy gifts for your kiddos.

Here is my Non-Fiction Article and Turkey Activity if you would like to pair any of these treats with a reading activity.  Click on the image to link to the resource!

I am so happy to share my finds with you, and I hope you can use one of these adorable ideas with your students.  Happy Thanksgiving to all my teacher friends and buyers. I hope you have a very safe, enjoyable holiday.

The Game-Changing Activity to Bring Your Classroom to the Next Level

Are you looking to transform your classroom, and try something new? Would you like to incorporate more technology into your classroom, or would you like to have your students asking for "MORE! MORE! MORE!" of a lesson or activity? If you can answer YES!!! to these questions, then you must try a Digital Escape Room! You will quickly have your students practicing and applying subject/content skills, critically thinking and collaborating all in one activity, among other things.

What is a Digital Escape ?

Escape rooms have become very popular, and these adventures are popping all over.  A traditional escape is a physical adventure (based on a theme-a movie, casino, story line, book, etc.) in which players solve puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and mindful strategies to unlock the object at hand.

Teachers have adapted this idea and have brought it into the classroom.  Classroom escape rooms are designed around a unit or activity, and it includes envelopes, clues, puzzles, activities and locks throughout the classroom.  However, teachers like myself, have taken the paper out of the escape room and have made it completely digital!

Short, Motivational Videos to Evoke Discussion in Your Classroom

Hi Everyone!

Happy October! Tis the season for pumpkin spice lattes, your favorite boots and sweater, and the beauty of leaves changing. 

Every day, I start all of my classes off with some sort of bell ringer or prompt to engage my students to discuss, share opinions, or argue a thought or idea.  I really try to differentiate my prompts, and I try to change the prompts from analyzing quotations, "What If" questions, "This or That" prompts, moral dilemmas and other thought-provoking writing questions.  However, after a while, the prompts can become repetitive and mundane.  I started to incorporate short video clips (3-5 minutes) for the students to watch and answer questions.

I wanted to share some of my favorites with you, along with questions your students can respond to after watching the clips.

My Favorite Quotations for the Secondary Classroom

Hi Friends!

I hope you are having a wonderful summer.  As August approaches and some of my teacher friends begin thinking about returning to school, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite secondary classroom quotations.  Even though this does say "secondary", I know many of these quotations would fit just right in an elementary setting too!

As you walk into my classroom, I have a bulletin board to the left that I never knew what to do with-it is too small to do a large theme, and a calendar never did fit quite right.  For years, it was wasted space- I would use for upcoming events, I would hang important papers there, and by the end of the year is was just 'blah and ugly.

Last year, I decided to get creative.  I have always shared a weekly quote in my classroom, and normally I would write it on my front board; however, it sort of blended in with the date, idiom of the week, and normally just got lost.  I felt bad for my quotations because I REALLY love them, and I think they are impactful for my students...here enters the "blah" bulletin board.  It was time for a fancy quotation board. I decided to paint the bulletin board in chalkboard paint, and I purchased the chalkboard paint markers from Amazon.  I educated and taught myself some of the fancy handwriting fonts, and my quote board was off to a fleeting start.  Here are some of the pictures from my classroom over the year-

Becoming the Techie Teacher in the English Language Arts Classroom for the New School Year

Hi Friends!

I hope your summer is off to a wonderful start!  I hope you are enjoying time with your family, the beach, vacationing and relaxing!  We know teachers need relaxation!

I know, I know. How can I already be thinking about the new school year when my summer break just started?  I actually had the chance to experience some new technology this past year that I wanted to share with you that works wonders in the English Language Arts classroom.  I wanted you to have a chance to explore the technology before you go back to school and be able to ponder how you can incorporate it into your classroom.

The Best End of the Year Activities for the Middle School English Classroom

Hi Teacher Friends!

I know some of you are lucky enough to be rounding out the end of the school year in the next few weeks and days.  My school finishes at the end of June, as most Northeast school districts do.

I have been trying to plan out my last five weeks of the school year, and this year, my school is doing finals differently.  We are actually not going to have a "finals week", and the kids are going to be in for regular periods for the last two weeks. In the past, we have always had half days where the kids would come in for the test and then leave.  We will be actually giving our finals during the school day, rather than holding half days! This now leads me to have to plan for an extra two weeks of school.

I thought I would put a list of items together that are some of my favorite activities to do the last few weeks. I am definitely going to be utilizing these, and they will be in full effect!

Fortnite Has Taken Over My Classroom! How I Beat My Students and Created Relevant Classroom Activities

Full squad. Take shelter. Zombies. Kills. Wins. This is the language of Fortnite, and this is the game that has taken over my middle school classroom. Literally.  I have come accustomed to some of the vocabulary my boys talk about constantly, and I watch my girls roll their eyes at them.

It was only about two or three weeks ago I starting hearing about this game called, Fortnite.  Just like anything, it started by trickling in, and then within in a week, it became a full-fledge obsession not just in my classroom but throughout our entire school.  Whether it was a break in our lesson or a second to open their notebook, Fortnite has become the topic of conversation within my classroom.  I know it is not only my classroom, but this game has infiltrated many classrooms and schools nationwide.  I was about to pound my head against the wall if I heard "Fortnite" again, and I knew I  had to think of a solution to survive yet another craze...and that's when the lightbulb went off!

It Will Take MORE Than Gun Control-A Closer Look at Our Students, Parenting, & Respect

This is a very different blog post for me.  As many of you know, my blog is filled with teaching tips, ideas and tricks to help other teachers. I often share posts about some of my new products that may assist you in your classroom.  Honestly, I had to think long and hard about posting this one, but as a teacher who is on the front lines with students on a daily basis, I knew I had to share this.

Like so many others, last week my heart was torn once again by another school shooting. Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School faced an incomprehensible tragedy no parent, teacher, faculty member or administrator should ever have to bear.  Just like all of our schools, everyone has their procedures for their "code red"; we drill, we discuss, and we practice state protocols for a "God forbid" moment. MSDHS did everything they were suppose to do and followed all their protocols; however, as Cynthia Rylant said, "But those with an evil heart seem to have a talent of destroying anything beautiful that is about to bloom."  There was only so much the teachers and faculty could do in these few moments, and they did their best, as all of us would do.

In the following days, the voices of the Majory Stoneman Douglas High School students, parents, teachers, and faculty raised their voices and have called, yelled, and screamed for government action on gun control.  I am so proud of these young students for standing up for their school, their peers, their lost friends and the nation.  I ask my students all the time to stand up for what they believe in, to speak up, and to advocate for oneself and others.  It is refreshing to see this take place; unfortunately, we tend to speak louder in a time of tragedy. This was a teachable moment for me: Speak up NOW, not LATER.  

Creating and Planning a Digital Escape Room & Breakout for Your Classroom

Hi Teacher Friends!

Happy February! I am sure many people have their fingers crossed that the groundhog will not see his shadow and forecast six more weeks of winter; however, for the Northeast, in two weeks we have Winter break! Woo hoo! I hope you have wonderful, relaxing plans.

Have you been thinking about creating your own escape room for your classroom, and do not know where to start? Have you seen the digital escape rooms, to use on IPads, Chrome Books, and other technological devices and would really like to create one? I know it seems like an extremely overwhelming task to create an escape room, and most teachers do not know where to start when creating one.  I am going to give you some guideline tips before you start the planning and process of creating one.

My Favorite English Language Arts Websites I Use All the Time!

Hi Friends!

I hope you are having a wonderful January!  I know the weather has been tricky and a quite a trial for some areas the last few weeks.  I wish nothing more that this blog post finds you safe and comfortable in your home.

I was sitting in my classroom browsing my usual websites, and I said to myself, "What a great blog post this would be for my fellow English teachers!".  I constantly use a group of websites for a variety of reasons that are worthy of sharing.  Any English teacher knows, in the Language Arts world, we are dealing with many subcategories of "English".  There is grammar, mechanics, writing, reading, and all the rest. The websites I am going to share are extremely helpful in my classroom on a daily and weekly basis.  They spark ideas, lessons, activities, and sometime I just use the resources for ancillary material.  I hope these are helpful to you too!

Teacher Tips in Making 2018 the Best Year Yet in the Classroom!

Happy New Year all my teacher friends, viewers and readers!  I hope your holiday was special and brought your family happiness & and health. 

 I wanted to kick off the new year with a collaborative blog post from a variety of teachers who teach different subjects and grade levels and have them share tips in making 2018 the best year yet in the classroom. Whether you are a seasoned or new teacher, learning from other teachers is one of the best ways to gain knowledge and ideas for your classroom.  I have been teaching for 18 years, and I can tell you my most fruitful and most educational professional development is when other teachers teach and share a topic or idea.  These are by far my favorite professional development classes; I love learning from other teachers!

These wonderful teacher-authors have amazing tips to share with you!

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