Friday, January 31, 2014

Poetry Power!

This summer I wrote my final MA Essay that was required for graduation about how to address reading complexity requirements from the Common Core with regards to poetry.  Poems do not traditionally have reading levels assigned to them due to length and other issues.  This post isn't really about that though.  By conducting this research I gained more interest in how to teach poetry in the classroom and how to address the standards, i.e. which poems most align with the standards of a specific grade level.

I also feel passionate about giving students- at all grade levels- access to classic poetry written by well respected poets as well as the more modern poetry we often see in younger grades.

So here is what I've come up with during this Polar Vortex!

For grades 1-3 I created sheets that go with the poems "The Cow" by Robert Louis Stevenson and "Who Has Seen the Wind?" by Christina Rossetti.

For grades 4-5 I examined "Casey at the Bat" by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.  I will say this was in my seventh or eighth grade textbook last year and even those kids liked it so it could be moved up, but standards wise fits a bit better in the upper elementary school.  If you teach this you might want to also have students listen to it read by James Earl Jones- I just love how he sounds!

Then, moving more into my wheelhouse, I went with grades 6-8 and the poem, "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost which is one of my all time favorite poems.

Lastly, we reached my favorite age group- high school.  Here students are looking at "Ozymandias" and "Ode to a Grecian Urn" by Keats and Shelley.   This pack is probably the most comprehensive.  There is a lot to work with here and it is PERFECT for differentiating!

I also created some task cards that students in grades 4-6 can use to analyze ANY poem.  I included four poems in the set that students can use as well.  These are great for May Do work or Early Finisher work.  Poems include "The Eagle" by Alfred Lord Tennyson, "A Birthday" by Christina Rossetti, "Dreams" by Langston Hughes, and "My Bed is a Boat" by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Check out ALL my poetry stuff including some Shakespeare materials as well at my Teachers Pay Teachers Store!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Thinking of Flipping My Classroom

This spring I will be teaching a blended course at the local community college.  It is 2/3 in person and 1/3 online.  I'm thinking the best use of my, and the students' time is to flip my classroom!

I would like to put my lectures/lessons online for students to view at home and spend the in-class time providing writing support and allowing them the opportunity to participate in peer review and editing sessions.

I've never done any of this before so it is all new to me!  Luckily I have a few months to learn everything I can about this style of teaching.

I'm super excited to try!  Have you flipped your classroom?  What worked?  What didn't?

Flipped Classroom
Created by Knewton and Column Five Media

Friday, January 17, 2014

6 Reasons I love Substitute Teaching

Why Substituting Can Be Awesome!

1.  Mondays Suck!  But guess what, you don't have to work on Monday if you don't want to!  Choose your own schedule!

2.  Oh, that was the class from you know where?  Never sub for them again!

Getty via

3.  Learn something!  Or, Relearn something! (It took me the rest of the day but I figured it out! Algebra II for the win!)
Personal Photo
4.  Networking!  Make new friends!
5.  Students will still give you things!  They often LOVE a new face!

Personal Photo (That's me in the black)
6.  You get to leave right at the end of the day!

I'm having trouble coming up with four more... What are or were your favorite things about being a sub?!

Thanks for reading,

Monday, January 13, 2014

Engaging Students with Short Videos

While messing around on Pinterest last year I saw several pins for the short animated video "Pigeon: Impossible" with captions stating it was a good video to show students about inferencing.  I decided to make a quick little worksheet to go with it and tried it out with my students.

Edit: This post is now part of this wonderful linky!  Click through to find more posts about teaching students about fictional literature!

THEY LOVED IT.  I actually, coincidentally, got observed by a potential new dean at our school that same day and it was as if I had scripted the whole lesson and bribed my class.  They were ALL engaged and he noticed.  He complimented me not only on the engagement level but also the creativity and the rigor as I was requiring the students to use higher level thinking skills.

Due to the success of that lesson I sought out another short video.  I found "The Passenger" and created a sheet that focused on mood and plot for that one.  That said, I still ask inferencing and prediction questions for that one as well.

I have both of these lesson plans- that are detailed, and worksheets in my store.  But, a better deal is buying them bundled.  Both take around 15-20 minutes to complete and a great way to either introduce or review the concepts.  They are also a great filler activity for that day when you realize you need to keep their attention just a little longer.

Both videos are available on youtube.

Edit Again: I've added another one of these activities to go with the digital short "The Smoke Seller."  It is not a part of the bundle.  This one deals with Setting, Characterization, and Morals.  Check it out below:

Thanks for reading!

The Perils of Being an Adjunct

Being an adjunct professor at the college level can be awesome but at the same time it carries with it some hazards.  I recently encountered one of these hazards at not one but two schools.  Low enrollment meant that classes were cancelled at both of my schools... so I'm down to two classes this semester.  Such is life, but it's a mean blow to my budget right now.  

Word to the wise- budget as if you'll have one class class than you anticipate!  Always save extra money for the low months!  Luckily I'm a decent budgeter and will be fine, but it is still disappointing and definitely means I have to tighten my purse strings.  

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Different Sort of Planning

Planning for my college courses is completely different than planning for high school and middle school courses.  At the college level you are expected to provide a detailed calendar of readings and assignments for the entire 15-16 weeks of class.  When I taught middle and high school I'd plan a week at a time or a unit at a time.  It has been very hard to flip the switch on how I plan.

On one hand, it's good for me to think about everything I need to accomplish and how I want to do that.  On the other hand, figuring out pacing when you don't even know the size of your class, their ability level, or whether you're going to have any other obstacles- inclement weather days, sick days, etc.  I suppose, like most things, it's something I will get used to the more I teach at the college level.  I just hope I got it right!

How do you plan?  Any tips?  Ideas?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I'm on Facebook!

If you want more frequent updates about my Teachers Pay Teachers products and freebies follow me on Facebook: Ms. F's Teaching Adventures!  Hope to see you there!