Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Boosting School/Team Moral With Random Acts of Kindness

If you know me or have been following me for a while, you know I'm all about boosting school moral, school spirit, making people happy, and just random acts of kindness. I make sure I get all 7 members of my team a gift on every holiday or major occassion! Maybe that's too much, but doesn't everyone love receiving gifts?! I love giving just as much as I love receiving gifts. :)

No one said it had to be something expensive. I went to the a Dollar Tree this weekend and found these awesome Halloween themed wine glasses. Even though it's only Septemeber, I figured I better get them before they run out! I purchased some crinkled paper in our school colors (royal blue and white) along with some Starburst, Kit Kats, Twix, Milky Ways, 100 Grand mini candy bars, fake spiders, and some Halloween ribbon. I have a ton of post-it notes at work, so I went through and took out all of the purple and orange ones since they match the cup. I always stock up at back-to-school sales,  so I always have some sharpies and Expo dry erase markers. Candy is great for Halloween,  but how about something practical for the teacher?! That's why I always throw in a few teaching supplies with my gifts.

This is what I'm doing with each wine glass:
1. Put a little blue and white crinkle paper in the bottom of each glass.
2. Line the inside edge of the glass with the assorted chocolate candy bars. 
3. In the middle of the glass put the Post-it notes, 1 Sharpie, and 1 dry erase marker.
4. Fill the extra space with Starburst (You could also use additional crinkle paper) and top it off with a few fake spiders.
5. Place the glass in a cellophane bag.
6. Use the Halloween ribbon to close the bag.
7. This is where I need to your help! I need some catchy phrase to make a tag and place on each bag. Can anyone think of anything that involves teaching and Halloween stuff?! Please leave a comment and let me know! :)

All of this stuff came from Dollar Tree with the exception of the post-its,  Sharpie, and Expo. Each filled wine glass only costs about $3-4 per person!

After taking the kids out for Trick-or-treating on Halloween, I can imagine most of the teachers going home to drink wine out of this glass, especially since Halloween is on a Friday this year! Haha.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

First Project of the Year - Literary Term T-Shirt

All 7th grade students at my school made a literary term/figurative language t-shirt for our first project.

This is how it works:

The students have to choose a figurative language or literary term and make a shirt. We had them buy a solid colored t-shirt. The t-shirt is required to have the term, definition, written example (in a sentence), and a picture. Anything extra is fine, but it must include those four components. We count it as a test/project grade and it is worth 100 points.

Components (word, definition, example, picture) - 50 points
Creativity - 10 points
Neatness - 10 points
Wear Your Work - 15 points (the day it's due they have to wear it to school)
Strut Your Stuff - 15 points (All of the 7th graders go to the auditorium and walk across the stage with their shirt on. There's music playing and the kids make it fun...it's like a fashion show.

We give them one day in class to start designing their shirt on paper and then after that it is an at home project.

Check out some of ours below:

This is an up-close shot of my shirt. My kids got a kick out of my example sentence.

Here are a few examples from my 2nd period class.

This is one of my students from 4th period. Can you guess which word he chose?! Yep, onomatopoeia! For some reason onomatopoeia is everyones favorite type of figurative language! I've known this kid since he was 7 years old in 2nd grade and rode the school bus route I drove when I was in college! Now I have the pleasure of teaching him in 7th grade! How many people can say their former bus driver is now their teach?! Not many!

I hope I've explained it enough. Please let me know if you have any questions! :)

Setting Goals for College

During the first 3 weeks of school my Advisory class met daily for 30 minutes. Some teachers just let their kids talk the entire time, some make their kids read. I wanted to accomplish something a little more. We talked out the importance of getting a college education. After we talked about the importance of going to college I had my students research careers and colleges they're interested in. After the research they were given a blank pennant flag and I had them create a flag for their college. On the back they had to write the admissions requirements for the college, three goals they have related to college/career, and three steps they can take right now in their life to make sure they are on track to achieving the goals they listed. Once they were finished I laminated them and displayed them on the storage cabinet doors in my classroom. I wish I would have remember to take a picture of the back before I put them up. I made one too, as I still have college and career goals. I hope to go back to school in the next year or so to start my Ed.D.

I present to you the college Class of 2024!

Big thanks to Mrs. Mitchell at Teach. Inspire. Change. for this activity! My students loved it, I loved it, and so does everyone who walks into my room! :)

Teach. Inspire. Change.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Meet the Teacher Blogger

Linking up with Falling Into First for the Meet the Teacher Blogger Linky! I'm way late to this! ;)


Apple products. Starbucks. Photography. The Beach. Blogging. Jeans. Converse. Traveling. TV. Snowdays. Any show about a teacher or a plane {Lol, planes. IDK...I just like movies about planes. Maybe I should have been a pilot?}.


Well, my degree is in Pre-Law, so I guess I'd be a lawyer practicing family law. I'm also quite good a cooking. I've always wanted to own my own restaurant! maybe I can be a lawyer during the day, teach online at night, and run my restaurant on the weekends?! Hahaha.


Ambitious.  Caring. Loyal. 


"I really love going to ARD meetings...said no teacher EVER!!"


Hillary Swank! I don't know why, but I love her, especially in Freedom Writers. I may have decided to become an English teacher because of her. Maybe. Lol. I'm sure the real Erin Gruwell would hate the fact Hillary Swank is the one that inspired me instead of her. Haha.




"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain."  -Maya Angelou


I am definetely a night owl. I regulary stay up until 2-3am and wake up at 5:30am to go to work. Yes, I'm sleep deprived.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Currently September

Linking up with Farley at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for Currently September!

LISTENING - Just listening to Pandora. It's Saturday morning and I usually don't turn the TV on for a while.

LOVING - I LOVE my new school and my group of 7th graders! My kids are so sweet and they all try so hard! I love the fact that I only have four classes and I can get to know my students more.

THINKING - We are starting our first project on Monday which is a figurative language t-shirt. I need to make my example so they know what theirs should look like.

WANTING - When I taught third grade it was departmentalized and I taught 4 classes of 3rd grade reading each day for 60 minutes each. We did stations on Wednesdays and Thursdays and it worked perfectly. My 7th grade ELA team met the other day and we are all on-board to start stations in our classrooms! I am so glad that we think the same or else people would think I was crazy when they pass my class and see students rotating stations! "Aren't stations just for elementary school?!" Ummm...no!  

This is what we're thinking about doing (which is the same thing I did when I taught 3rd):

Monday - Introduce new topic/concept/skill - "I do"
Tuesday - Guided Practice - "We do"
Wednesday & Thursday - Stations spiraling previously learned skills and the new skill of the week - "You do"
Friday - Assessment (grade in class for immediate feedback)

NEEDING - I need more college shirts! My new school really pushes college, which is great! On Mondays teachers are allowed to wear jeans if they wear a college shirt or military branch shirt. I only have one college shirt, so I need more. We're also allowed to wear jeans on Friday if we have on a school spirit shirt - I need some of those too!

I guess you could also say I need a paycheck, too! LOL! I was issued my last paycheck from my former district around July 20th and I'm waiting for my first paycheck from my new district on September 15th. I will be so happy to see that paycheck!

3 TRIPS - I went to Aspen 2 years ago during Christmas break and I loved it! I will be going back this year during Christmas. I hope to make it to NYC during Spring Break and to Aruba during summer break.

Tracking Student Data in a Middle School Classroom

 I stayed late at work yesterday to write everything on my data charts and update them since my students took their first test today. Here's how it works: I use blue incentive charts from Creative Teaching Press along with their book and pencil stickers. I have a chart for each class period. To keep names confidential,  I write the students ID numbers along the left side. I use my roster so the kids are still in alphabetical order, it just has their number instead of name. Across the top I write the skill that was tested. This particular test was figurative language. If the student showed mastery (70% or more) they get a sticker for that skill/objective. Those students who did not show mastery have the opportunity to work with me during GO time (our tutorials during the school day) until they show mastery and earn their sticker. Tracking data is important and a great way to keep students accountable and wanting to strive for more! It also allows you to just glance and see where your students are struggling the most and allows everyone that comes in your classroom (including administrators) to see data results. Plus, I just love data! :)
Now, my question for you is - How do you track data? I'd love to hear. Please share!