Saturday, September 21, 2013

New Fav ISN Product

So I played at using ISNs (Interactive Student Notebooks) last year, but was rather unsuccessful and had all but decided not to bother doing them this year. Then I found two ah-mazing resources that I just can't get enough of! Erin over at I'm Lovin Lit created this awesome common-core-aligned ISN resource that is beyond perfect! I can't even put into words how pleased I am with it! There are two separate resources - one for literature and one for non-fiction. (I have both!)

It is truly interactive and my eighth graders are LOVING it!! She even includes YouTube links to short (1-3 minute) videos that pair perfectly with the lessons!

We've been using it for a week, and every day my kids have come in and asked, "Do we get to cut and color our notes again today?" And because everything is associated with a picture I really feel like they are retaining the information better. We started reading "Raymond's Run" and were using our Story Vocabulary to talk about it. Some of the kids couldn't recall a definition, and before I could say anything, another student said, "Remember, that's the vocab word behind the wolf from Little Red Riding Hood." Fabulous! It instantly jump-started their memories and they immediately made the connection and could tell me who the antagonist in RR was!

I'll try to remember to take some pictures of our ISNs in action next week!

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Saturday, September 14, 2013

Halloween Goodies {and a FREEBIE!!}

I know what you're thinking... it's a little early for Halloween, isn't it? And to that I would say... yes. Yes it is. But the Target Dollar Spot says differently! And MAN, do I love that place! I decided to go ahead a grab a few goodies to put together little Halloween Happies for my kids' teachers. I got these adorable buckets...

 And then went on the hunt for some cute shtuff to put in them...

glow-in-the-dark subway art Beverage holder (or koozie, as we call them 'round here), candy corn tissues (don't know how practical, but SUPER cute!), and I got a magnetic list pad with spider webs on it, and Frankenstein post-it notes. Closer to time I'll get some candy of some sort to put in them too, but here's the "finished product" for now...

The black candy corn thingy in the top left is is the gift tag - I'll hole punch it and tie some cute ribbon through it later. Like, after I go tomorrow and buy a single hole punch. Because I don't have one. What?! I know, seems like a crucial item in the teacher/crafter world, doesn't it? I used to have one, but it must have grown legs and run away, because it is NOWHERE. Oh well. I need it for this project, and I'm also making my kids bookmarks. (More on that tomorrow when they're done!)

But I'm super pumped about the adorable gift tag! It says "It's no TRICK - you're a TREAT of a teacher!" I don't know where that came from. I'm not conceited enough to think I came up with all on my own - I must have seen it somewhere, but I have no idea where! If you have seen it let me know where so I can give where credit is due!

Anyway, when my mom laid eyes on this awesomeness, she had to have some too. I went to work editing and finding more pics to give her some options. And now YOU can benefit from it! I came up with six designs. The clip art for five of them is from my new favorite clip art website and the adorable Frankenstein is from

Here's the final product:
Don't you just LOVE them?!?!?? And want them for your very own? Of course you do! So here's the PDF! It's uploaded to my Google Drive, and that theoretically should work... if if doesn't work for you let me know and I'll be happy to email it to you! 

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Budding Blog Linky!

Jess over at I {Heart} Recess is hosting a great linky party... Budding Blog! The linky party is for new blogs with less than 200 followers.... and with a cool 6 I definitely qualify! :)

To participate just link up and answer Jess's 5 questions! My answers are below...

1. Why did you start blogging? I started blogging because I was spending a lot of time bog-stalking and thought "I should do that too! Surely I have something to offer..."
2. What is your favorite subject to teach and why? I'm currently teaching English, so don't tell.... but I LOVE teaching history! I taught 8th grade world history for two years, and it was the most fun I've had teaching ever. What's better than going to work every day to tell awesome stories and do fun hands-on history simulations?!
3. Describe your teaching style. My teaching style... I guess I'd describe my teaching style as controlled, technology-driven, and fun. As long as we get the work done, I'm all about a classroom full of laughter. But I'm also pretty OCD, so my kids know everything has to be just-so. Luckily I'm able to poke fun at myself about it, so they laughingly cooperate with my quirks!
4. Give three interesting facts about you. I got married in Las Vegas; I read insanely fast (casually read four or five books over the weekend); I'm completely tone deaf (in middle school the band director suggested I would be happier taking home ec!)
5. Do you have a TpT store? If yes, post the link :) No TPT store yet... maybe someday! In the mean time I spend a lot of time and money there!

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Sunday, September 1, 2013


So the first week of school we did the typical get-to-know-you stuff, went over procedures, did a learning style inventory and a True Colors test, and took our summing reading test. The kids all read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins for summer reading. Until the movies started coming out we read the series as a school - sixth graders read Hunger Games, seventh graders read Catching Fire, and eighth graders read Mockingjay. Now we are phasing it out, so this is the last group to read them in class. With the switch to Common Core this year I really don't have time to read the novel in class, so I did it as summer reading. Week two and three of school are devoted to the fun activities I found to go with the book! Last week we worked in pairs to map Panem. I gave them a blank map of North America, a list of "clues," and an iPad to do some research, and they figured out what they thought Panem looked like. We also tied knots like Finnick (i gave each kid a 14" length of rope and ten knots to try), and we made silver parachutes and competed to see which group's fell the slowest. The mapping Panem activity and the silver parachutes were adapted from Tracee Orman's Mockingjay teaching unit on TPT (here). The kids loved it, especially the parachutes! And next week we are recreating the propos from chapter 8. On Friday I gave them a crash-course in Windows Movie Maker and showed some examples from last year. They are PUMPED and can't wait to get into the computer lab on Tuesday!

I went back to Second & Charles yesterday and got another bag full of books. This group has some serious readers! Two weeks in and we're on page SIX of my library log! They are going through my books like crazy. My morning classes finally got to have our library orientation on Friday and they got to check out some books. Sadly, our librarian had to close the library the second half of the day to attend a funeral, so my afternoon classes were really bummed. They'll get to check out at the start of the period on Tuesday, though. And I did some book talks with them and let them check out from me if they wanted, which placated most of them. :)

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