Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Holidays are Here! Tis the Season!

The Language Arts Classroom and Julie Faulkner have teamed up again to bring us a great holiday blog hop!

Here are some of my thoughts on "the season."

As a teacher I think that right before the holidays is one of our busiest seasons.  We're preparing to go on break, colleges have finals, and there are often a lot of extra interruptions at the school. I think it's important to remember to take a second and breathe.  When I taught high school I used a lot of shorter activities that I could plug in one day at a time so assemblies and such wouldn't get me too far off track.  You can find some of them in my Winter Poetry pack.  I think poetry lends itself nicely to many different seasons and is a great way to bring winter in without being too specifically geared towards one religion.

As we've gotten older and since there are no grandkids yet in my family some of our family traditions have died down a bit.  But at home I like to put some festive decorations up and drink a lot of hot cocoa or hot apple cider. I love making handmade gifts for people as well. This year I'm attempting new crochet patterns!

The TPT sale is coming up on the 30th so I've decided to treat myself with a few goodies.  Right now I'm eyeing some clipart sets from a couple of my favorite designers. My wishlist is quite full to be honest!

Some years I have specific things that I want to get for Christmas- should anyone choose to give me something- but this year there isn't much catching my eye.  I think it's a sign that you're a real adult when the stuff on your wishlist is along the lines of new dryer, new stove, new vaccum cleaner, chandelier etc... #homeownership

In general though, I am looking forward to getting to spend more time with the people I care about over the next several weeks.  I have work parties, friend parties, and family parties to attend and I can't wait. I'm also really excited to spend my break prepping materials for two new classes that I'm teaching come spring semester. #teachernerd

Stop by and check out the rest of the posts in this blog hop.  You just might get some teaching ideas and gift ideas!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

English Teacher Gift Giving Guide

Buying meaningful and unique gifts for people is something I love to do. I know I appreciate a gift that was specifically chosen for me so much more than something more generic.

Do you want to give an English teacher or book lover a gift this year? Maybe a colleague? A family member? Look no further. Here are some great ideas for the bibliophiles in your life.
(Links updated 10/7/18)

1. A matted poster that is created entirely from the text of a beloved novel.  This one is The Great Gatsby.  At $19.00 for a matted 12x16 copy I think this is a great deal.

2.  From the same store as above, these literary temporary tattoos are too cool.  I love how this one from Moby Dick isn't really outlined. It looks more real I think. I have no real tattoos, but I'd rock one of these for fun! At $10 for six tattoos these are a great stocking stuffer!

(Check out the rest of their website for lots of cool gift ideas.)
3. This banned book mug from Amazon is adorable. At around $16 it's well worth the price. (Affiliate Link)
4.  Here's another great stocking stuffer.  Grab this travel candle for $8.00! This one is John Steinbeck themed! (Affiliate Link)

5.  This personalized embosser can help a teacher keep track of his/her books. It's a little pricer at $19 but it'll last forever! (Affiliate Link to similar one on Amazon)

6. This READ Marquee Sign would liven up any classroom or library! It's a big purchase, so maybe this would be a great class gift or would be for someone extra special in your life.  Buy individual letters to spell anything you want via Dot&Bo! 

7.  This bookshelf becomes invisible once you put a book on it! What a great way for the reader in your life to display their most beautiful books! at $8 each I feel this is a reasonably priced gift for just about anyone! (Affiliate Link)

Alright English teachers... what's on your wishlist?

Thanks for reading! 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

7 Amazing Websites to Help English Teachers

The internet is amazing and has a wealth of resources.  However, sometimes it helps to know where to look first.  These are 7 of my favorite websites to use with my classes.

1.  New York Times Learning - The New York Times has a treasure trove of resources for teachers.  My favorites are the text to text options that connect current events with other non fiction articles or famous pieces of literature like A Raisin in the Sun.

2.  Web English Teacher- This was my go-to website when I was first starting out.  The site is divided up by topic, author, text etc and provides links to all sorts of resources. Most, if not all, are free.

3.  Scholastic Book Wizard- I love this tool so I can make sure I'm giving students books that are appropriate for them.  You can search many books here and get an interest level and a reading level identification.  It also tells you if there is an AR or SSR quiz associated with the book.

4.  Facing History & Ourselves- If you need primary sources this site is rife with them.  This is a great way to find background information for historical context when reading novels.

5. Free Rice- This website lets students have fun while learning.  They can choose to work on grammar or vocabulary.  It is adaptive and it ends up donating to charities around the world that feed the hungry.

6. Poetry Foundation- I love this website for finding poems that demonstrate different types of figurative language or that deal with specific topics.  Some even have recordings with them.

7. NewsELA- If you need good non-fiction current events for your classes this site has articles that are written at 5 different reading levels. It's great for differentiation!

What websites do you use in your secondary English classroom?

Thanks for reading!