• D I T C H T H E D E S K • About three years ago, I made the decision to get rid of my teacher desk. Not only was it too big and bulky, but it was also becoming a catch-all for anything and everything. Plus, I was finding myself sitting at it way more than I should. After getting rid of it, I got a kidney table and kept my supplies behind it in filing cabinets and bookshelves. But eventually, I started stacking my stuff on that too. After moving into a smaller classroom this year, I knew I had to maximize the amount of space for students and, of course, the multiple bookcases of books. So I found an extra student desk that fits perfectly in front of our one and only classroom window and created this little space as my own. I still have a kidney table, but that is now being used exclusively for guided reading and book conferences. I’m not going to lie-it wasn’t easy at first to be without my own, spacious desk. But I’ve come to the realization that our classroom belongs to my students, not me. They need a larger space to learn and read rather than that space be taken up by my teacher desk.
CLASS • CONSTITUTION 📜
❤️ Double tap if you have classroom agreements that have been created with your students! •
🖋 I love this spin on classroom agreements- the Class Constitution! Plus, it was super fun to make amendments to it after our election last week! The kids take such pride in these agreements and love making it official by signing their name. •
🍂 November is a great time to review expectations by creating something new to help build community or reviewing what you have! •
❤️ How do you come up with, write and display your class agreements? Let me know! 👇🏼
Team packs are my jam! 💜💛 Need an easy way to add simple engagement? All I did was print out questions on a sheet and throw it in a team pack. Each team worked on the question for about 3 minutes, put it back in the team pack, and then passed it to the next team. In just 15 minutes, they answered 4 text-based questions, worked collaboratively, revisited the text, and fell in love with these shiny bubble mailers lol. Check my newest highlight for videos!
It's almost research paper season! In order to make sure that our kids fully grasp the research paper, it takes a lot of prep work and organization to teach students how to write a research paper. My research paper writing unit includes student materials and an editable PowerPoint presentation to help streamline this process. Tap on the link in my profile to see more. On Instagram, you can also tap on the picture to see more. #teachersofinstagram#teacherspayteachers#secondaryela#englishteacher#teachers
Ten minutes left of class = an impromptu brain break! I have random, fun items for times such as these; sometimes I write these tech free brain breaks into the lesson plan because these kids are nonstop for at least 7 hours everyday and they need some self-care, too. ❤️ Also, Thanksgiving Break is so close we can smell it and we are ready. for. it. ☠️
Super proud of my creative writing team (an after-school club) and their progress in the last month. Today we talked about how to use backstory to build reader empathy for characters 📝📝📝 What’s something awesome you’ve been up to lately? #teachersofinstagram#secondaryela#iteachmiddleschool
• NEVER • STOP • LEARNING • If I don’t teach my students anything else, I hope I teach them that you should never stop trying to learn. 📚 I’ve taught Gatsby multiple times but I’m STILL learning new things about it - things I wouldn’t have known if I hadn’t gone out of my way to do more research on the novel. 📖 Learning isn’t something that stops once you graduate high school or college - it never stops. The more you embrace it, the better off you are 🤓
During our novel study last year, I just had a character chart covering my board. This year, I decided to step up my game!
I’ll have the full character chart in the first column once we get through part 2.
The second column has vocab that’s specific to Unwind, plus a few choice words to focus on why the author uses these terms to impact the meaning.
Finally, and probably my favorite part, is our four EQ topics listed under “building the case.” We’re writing an character analysis related to the themes/EQs. Throughout, I’m challenging them to find quotes that relate to the text. This is a tricky standard, but one of the most important in MLS! Plus, it’ll be pretty handy when it’s time to write their essay 🤗
I’ve never found a better way to teach than to be an authentic reader and writer myself. If I come to daily minilessons in Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop not only as the teacher, but as a person who is doing the work that they’re about to do who has struggles, problem solves, and keeps trying, I see my students start to think, “I can try to do this, too.” #growthmindset#teachermodeling#teachingliteracy
💬 Keeping my kiddos on their toes by mixing up our discussion strategies in World Lit! 💬 Today we had silent discussions of our Frankenstein essential questions — students broke up into small groups, in which each student was responsible for one EQ. They recorded their question on a piece of looseleaf, then silently responded to it in writing. After a few minutes, I prompted students to pass the topic to the next member of their group. They read their classmate’s question and response, then added their own... lather, rinse, repeat. ☺️ Finally, the EQs made their way back to their original owners. Students read the new contributions to the discussion, then underlined/highlighted specific points they may want to share. Finally, we came back together as a class to discuss the EQs, only now every student had a built-in set of talking points to report out on. 👍
I love this strategy because 1️⃣ it’s low prep, 2️⃣ it keeps students on task (using a timer), and 3️⃣ it ensures every student’s “voice” is heard. What are your go-to discussion strategies?
I'm thankful for the advice I read in Harry K. Wong's book The First Days of School: Make sure that the students are the ones working throughout your lessons. My first years of teaching *I* was doing the bulk of the work in each of my lessons, my students sat back and relaxed. Then this advice flipped my thinking. I turned around each lesson. It is still a lot of work to prepare a lesson where the students are the workers, but now they are the ones who learn! 😁 #thankful2teach @toocoolformiddleschool @readitwriteitlearnit @vanessasviewpodcast @the_whimsical_teacher #iteachmiddleschool#secondaryela
"I'm not at the point in my fitness journey where I'm ready for that. "
This is the biggest reason that keeps women from joining my phenomenal tribe of coaches. I understand. I used to say that, too. Then I realized it's not about being perfect in your journey. It's not about having abs, or even being at your goal weight. What it IS about is SHARING your journey and what works for you. It's about showing up everyday, sharing your triumphs and struggles and being a light for others. .
To be able to workout from home, to be able to choose from a plethora of workouts on my computer, and connect with a community of total rockstar women who are all doing the same, who are inspiring, encouraging, and empowering each other......now THAT'S something to be a part of! 💓
GREAT WEEK ON THE HORIZON
The end of last week was tough, but I took this weekend to recharge and I feel ready for the week ahead. Unfortunately I can’t change what happened last week, but I can keep loving on my students and doing my best to change lives.
So let’s have a great week y’all!
This year, our middle school ELA team is fully implementing the balanced literacy model into our classrooms: language, reading, and writing workshops. It’s been a big change for us and for our students, but one I can see being of great benefit to the students. I feel very confident with language workshop and mini-lessons, but I am very nervous about guided reading groups. Being a middle school teacher all my life, I have never done any sort of small group work. But just because guided reading is out of my comfort zone, doesn’t mean I’m not against trying it. We have had a balanced literacy consultant in our district the last couple of years, and she is coming in tomorrow to observe my guided reading lesson. Do I have everything planned and ready? Yes. Am I nervous? Yes. Will I ask the right questions and prompts? Maybe. Will I make mistakes? Yes. Do I want my students to be successful? YES! I may be bad at the whole guided reading thing, but I’m not afraid to give it a shot!
With the Thanksgiving holiday around the corner, get into the spirit with these Thanksgiving Grammar Worksheets. Ideal for class warm-ups, review, and last-minute sub activities, these worksheets combine grammar and Thanksgiving-themed sentences. You can check out this resource by tapping on the link in my profile. #teachers#teacherspayteachers#secondaryELA#englishteacher#teachersofinstagram
~ IT’S ALL ABOUT THE EARS ~
❤️Our whirlwind weekend is almost over, but this trip was a perfect reminder that we all need to remember our own self-care. •
❤️I’ll be the first to admit that I put just about everyone and everything before taking time for myself. This trip was a last minute decision and I wasn’t sure I should leave for the weekend after two 12 hour conference days. However, I will never regret it and feel refreshed and ready to tackle November and December after a mini vacation! •
❤️ What is your favorite self-care activity? Remember, it doesn’t have to be big to help you feel rejuvenated! Let me know! 👇🏼 •
📸 Earrings from @scarlettjadedesign
Use Code: KAYLA20 for 20% off any designs!
THANKSGIVING is around the corner in the US, and if you’d like to celebrate while STILL meeting clear academic objectives, try this *menu* of writing prompts! 🦃📝❤️ 40 prompts in 8 categories across persuasive, informative, narrative, research, and vocabulary categories, plus rubric and brainstorming 🤘🏻Learn more by clicking on the Link in my Profile! 📸: @maderocreative #secondaryela#teachersofinstagram#iteachmiddleschool#teachersfollowteachers#iteachela#englishteacher#tpt
One of my favorite activities of the year happened in the last two weeks - our CSI investigation into the death of Ötzi the Iceman. Students analyzed evidence, collaborated, determined a cause of death, wrote a final case report with evidence to support, and created a visual presentation of their final case report. We certainly have some future forensic scientists, crime scene investigators, detectives, and lawyers on our team 🕵🏻♂️🕵🏼♀️
THANKFUL TO TEACH: Day 1️⃣
Choose a student you’re thankful for...
I’m cheating. I’m choosing the whole crew pictured above 👆🏽 My first 7th grade class 💗
These are the kids whose memoirs are burned into my heart. These are the kids who taught me the power of relationships. These are the kids who taught me to set limits. 👩🏼🏫
This picture is from Relay for Life. We walked the high school track for 24 hours straight in our pajamas (okay, walked, danced, did “The Shopping Cart” 🤣🛒). We were delirious and happy and raised lots of money for the American Cancer Society. We have so many memories from this night! 🌟
I run into some of the kids in this group from time to time. They’re married. They’re moms and dads. They have successful careers. I love seeing how this group has grown, and more than anything, I’m thankful to be a small part of their lives. 💗 #thankful2teach ............................
Join my friends @vanessasviewpodcast @toocoolformiddleschool @the_whimsical_teacher and I in sharing things we’re thankful for this week! Use the hashtag #thankful2teach and post away! .
Holy Guacamole! This is the best resource I’ve ever come across. @buildingbooklove posted it a few months ago, I checked it out (and thought it was cool), but thought I could live without it. Two months later, grading paragraphs with a myriad of issues, I decided I couldn’t survive without it! I can’t wait to see the benefits when writing our first essays.
It provides differentiated feedback for each student’s writing. There is written feedback on the slips of paper and a video linked to each for students to watch if they need further guidance. It cuts so much time off repeating feedback for writing. Teachers of writing, this is one resource you don’t want to pass up.
•Today I was featured in our PD session regarding teacher/student clarity. Translating the standards into student-friendly language on the daily and forcing them to engage with how that applies to what we are doing helps empower the students to take initiative in their own learning. My school follows Hattie’s transparency plan, asking 3 basic questions to guide learning. “What are we learning today,” “What are we doing today,” and “How will I show that I’ve learned it,” helps guide students through their daily approach to the standards. I ask my students to answer these questions from my board at the beginning of each class to give them the language to clarify when they are coming across misunderstandings or inquisitive about the purpose of the lesson. •Today, my students read Ray Bradbury’s “The Pedestrian” to prepare for our theme summative, but the first questions pictured are regarding narrative elements; pulling back from our previous unit. It’s all about the standards! •All in all, what a great Monday!! #johnhattie#literature#teacherclarity#standardsbased#ilovemyjob#lovewhatyoudo#raybradbury#fahrenheit451
Thank you @mackinlibrary for the posters and bookmarks! My students love seeing these posters in their English and Spanish classrooms, and they took all my bookmarks before I had the chance to grab a photo!
ARMISTICE - Noun. :: truce, ceasefire, peace; an agreement made in a war to stop fighting: “The armistice facilitated radical expansion of Teddy Bear Tea Parties.” Photo: @tonyfutura Vocab: Facebook.com/profile.php?id=100005388132074
A short, quick activity we have been working on for Macbeth is tracking his stress throughout the play. We also talked about stress in our daily lives and some strategies to help with our stresses. Many shared that some of their strategies is spending time with family, friends, and puppies. ❤️#iteachenglish#iteachela#secondaryela#iteachhighschool
Sure....nobody will know when my 5 a.m alarm goes off (except my husband 🤣). Nobody will know if I press play on my workout or not....except me. I'll know. I've built up this trust with myself though....about staying true to my word. If I say I'm gonna do it....I'm gonna do it. 👊🏻I'm not breaking that trust with myself! .
Besides, I have an entire community of women who are counting on me to show up, to lead by example, and are trusting me. They help hold me accountable and I need them just as much as they need me. .
So it's time to drink the yellow go go drink and let it work its magic so I can crush this workout, check in with the girls in my group, and then win my day! Have a good one! 💕