Skip to main content

Posts

Writing Strategy for Middle School Students

During spring break this year, I spent some time worrying what a week off would do to the memory bank of my middle schoolers right before they take the state writing test.
As teachers we know how it goes: you teach them something today, tomorrow they act as if they have never heard it before (insert face palm emoji)! So I certainly worried about all the information that they may forget coming back from break and straight into testing. Fortunately, we had one day before testing and I planned on honing in on one thing: Brain Dump.

STRATEGY TIME A brain dump is a strategy to un-clutter the mind by taking what is in the brain and transferring it to paper.  All my middle schoolers will have a planning sheet during testing even if they are taking a paper based test or computer based test. So we spent the class period running through in our heads and conversing about what it would be like to take the test. Students shared feelings of nervousness, doubt, confidence, planned, etc. This allowe…
Recent posts

Teacher Self Care Using Travel Hacking

The past few years, there has been a lot of talk regarding self care in the teacher world and rightfully needed. Working in a large school district, I see the teacher mass exodus increasing over time. Awesome teachers that give up from the burn- out or new teachers not able to push through the early years and solidify their roots in a great career. As teachers, we need to ensure our mental and physical well being so we are good for our students. Based on the number of personal days I have left, you better believe I live by the rule that a burnt out teacher is no good to themselves, students, or their family. It also helps that I’ve developed a travel bug and I refuse to wait till summer to travel with thousands of other tourists in the peak of the summer sun so I tend to space out my vacations with the end of quarters and long weekends.

But how do I do it on a teacher’s salary?

Points!

That’s it. Travel points that I’ve accumulated from credit card bonuses, matching, day to day spen…

Keep, Change, Turn for the New School Year

Teaching requires a lot of hard work but the most important thing it requires is a reflective practitioner. The peace and slow pace of summer is a great time to sit at the pool or at Starbucks and think about what went well, what didn't go so well and what didn't work at all. I've been thinking about my teaching practices a lot over the last few weeks since school has been out because I know there are things that I need to change, keep, and do a 180 turn for the upcoming year to improve upon what works in my classroom. 
This past school year was a learning curve for me since it was my first teaching middle school coming from a high school setting and I had been out of the classroom for some time as a literacy coach. To understand my thought process, I need to front load what my typical demographics include: students with and without out a learning disability reading from K-4 reading levels all in the same class with a scripted program that doesn’t satisfy their needs. I als…

Must Read When Setting up Literature Circles in Classrooms

Hands-down this book is a perfect starting point if you are interested in doing literature circles or book clubs in your classrooms. Daniels and Steineke have written numerous books on this process so they would be the go- to in the field when learning how to start this necessary activity with your students. I say necessary because there are too many classrooms that teachers are forced to teach tests and skills and fail to teach the love of lifelong reading. The first chapter of the book impresses upon readers the idea that our ultimate goal should be that. Literature circles allows students to be involved and committed namely because they are allowed to have choice and voice.
I like how the book not only focuses on the Why but also How. Some of the mini-lessons discussed are tried and tested in ELA classrooms such as book passes and book talks but the book gives you how to do it correctly and why it is important to be done.

The chapters are divided into How to get started, How to get…