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Showing posts from January, 2015

Using the Grammar Invitations in 8th Grade

I have talked a few times this year about how using Jeff Anderson's book, Mechanically Inclined, has literally transformed my grammar instruction. My seventh graders are seeing incredible changes in their writing, and teaching each concept independently has been a blessing, because I can truly differentiate and personalize instruction for my students who may be struggling. After reading all of the grammatically correct papers from my seventh graders I was appalled, and a little surprised, to read my eighth graders narratives and realize that they had no idea how to use commas. There were either too many, so, that, their, stories read, like this. Or there were absolutely no commas and the action of the story would just continue from the first page to the last with absolutely no break and I would find myself out of the breath by the time I was done reading. Here's the kicker: I taught them last year!! We went over grammar, I remember spending a very long time covering everythin

The Life Planner

Well, I totally stopped using my life planner around June of last year, mostly because I was home and didn't have a whole lot going on to justify using it frequently. I said to myself, "Ok, you don't need a new planner then..." so I didn't buy one. Then I remembered. I had placed my twentieth  order, and received a $100 coupon to use at Erin Condren. Yes, it's sick that I've placed twenty orders, but a lot of them were gifts (for me, ha!). I decided that I would get a quick ship planner since I still liked my cover from my last planner. It came within a week (so I highly recommend this option if you don't feel the need to personalize!) I added the Wellness and the Budget book to my order, because it was free, so why not? I wanted to check them out. So far, the Budget book is great, but the Wellness book is kind of a pain, because I'm lazy. Also, I didn't really know what I'd write in my actual planner if I wasn't tracking what I

Top Ten Best Things About Teaching Middle School...

In the spirit of the many "Top Ten Things About (INSERT TOPIC HERE)", I decided to make my own, with perhaps a more positive spin. I love teaching 7th and 8th grade, and these are just ten of my favorite things about it... Top Ten Best Things About Teaching Middle School... 1. Lessons often start off as an excellent discussion, and can quickly devolve into a kid shouting “AVADA KEDAVRA” while using his pen as a wand. 2. They will laugh with you when you do something ridiculous, like suddenly lose the ability to talk 9th period. 3. They experience a wide range of emotions. Usually within a 30 second time period. 4. In the last month of school, eighth graders become mushy nostalgic love monsters.

Update on my 30 Day Challenge!

My 30 Day Challenge  lesson that I did with my students on the first day back from break was a success! I really enjoyed watching them come up with a challenge, and we did a "check-in" a few days ago using Padlet that the students enjoyed. Some are struggling, but some are really excited about their progress! I can't wait to see how many of us have stuck to it after January! I've been sending out little notes to check-in on Edmodo, mostly to build a bit of community. This is a great way to reign your kids back in and connect with them after the break! **This is not a sponsored post** In preparation for this 30 day challenge, I purchased the stackable Bentgo box pictured above. It has completely re-energized my packing lunches, because nothing motivates me like having a cute container to fill. Something about throwing food in a paper bag or target bag just doesn't appeal to me! I also purchased the insulated lunch bag, the cup, and two small container

Cold Day!

Out here in Chicagoland, we are off today for cold temperatures. This is a blessing a curse, as the last half of the school year gets crazy, and every single day is valuable and vital for teaching! This quarter in 8th grade, we focus on We are starting off our non-fiction study with a focus on Women's Suffrage and studying Susan B. Anthony's speech as well as a counter argument. All of this will culminate in an argumentative paper and writer's workshop at the end of the quarter. To prepare my students to read "On Woman's Right to Suffrage", I gathered a short history from Scholastic: Then I created a Vital Vocabulary sheet which my students did in small groups with dictionaries yesterday. Tomorrow we will do a non-fiction close reading together on both the speech and the counter argument. I want my students to come away seeing that even though Women's Rights seems like a given now, there were arguments against it from other women! We

New Year's Resolutions and a New Lesson!

Hi everyone! This will be a quick one today, since I have to get out grocery shopping and run errands, but I wanted to share a few things! I shared these on my FB page, but these are my New Year's Resolutions, and I'm linking up with Ms. W at Tales of Teaching in Heels ! I am excited to open some doors, and end some bad habits! I think the 30 day challenge will keep it fresh and exciting! Are you like me? Panicking at the thought of getting into school early enough to get copies made for your new units? Maybe you are ahead of the game, if so, good for you, and I'm very jealous :) For me, I wanted to ease back in a bit, so I came up with this lesson . This is free  on my TpT store right now, so grab it if you want something quick and fun to do with your students tomorrow! And finally... My giveaway for the infinity scarf ends tonight . I watched a YouTube video and became OBSESSED with making these, and I'd love to give one to you for free! Enter belo

Currently January!

Thanks to Farley for the January Currently! Head over to my FB page to see my Resolutions for this year! Also- I got really into Arm-Knitting in the past month, so I'm running a giveaway!  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best YA/Teen Books of 2014

Did you read any amazing books last year? I know I did! I am vowing to read more this year, but here are my top five from last year, in no particular order! Paper Towns  by John Green I love this book, and I don't even really know why. It was just great. It was one of those books that I could read over and over again, and I wouldn't get sick of it. The characters were written so realistically, and the premise is so normal, but also not at the same time. Other people probably think I'm nuts when I rave about it, because it's not like it's a heart pounding thrill ride, but to me it belongs in a "next great American novel" list. It isn't as emotionally manipulative as The Fault in Our Stars , but it still has characters that you enjoy spending time with in their world. It's like The Great Gastby  to me. When I read it again, I find something else that I can latch on to and analyze. I think it would be a fantastic novel study. Due to some ma