Monday, January 1, 2018

New Year & New Semester... Means 50% Off Sale!

Happy New Year!!!  As I prepare to begin 2018, and... I don't even want to type the words...start setting my alarm again, I thought I would share with you some fun, new resources I'm going to use when my students return. 

The first activity I'm going to use is this Digital Student Reflection.  This digital AND printable resource includes 5 video journal prompts where students watch a short video clip and then reflect on the past year, as well as the year to come in their responses. Using the information from the journal responses, students will complete a New Year’s infographic.   These are great to print and put up on a bulletin board to remind students of the goals they have set.

Around the time of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, I plan to have my students use this Digital MLK, Jr. Video & Song Analysis comparing U2’s “Pride: In the Name of Love” lyrics and video with the John Legend version. Students will also watch a short bio on MLK, Jr. and complete an interactive drag and drop fill-in-the-blank digital activity.  With these activities, students will gain a better understanding of who Martin Luther King, Jr. was, as well as what he stood for. 

These 2 resources will be 50% off for New Year's Day only!!!  What activities are you going to do when student return from Christmas Break?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

TPT Cyber Sale!!!

In case you haven't heard, Teachers Pay Teachers is having a cyber sale on Nov. 27-28, where you can get up to 25% off!  You simply have to enter the code cyber17 at checkout.

I recently posted some holiday-themed resources, just in time for the sale.  These Digital Holiday Figurative Language Task Cards are a fun way to review the following types of figurative language:

  • simile
  • metaphor
  • personification
  • alliteration
  • onomatopoeia
  • idiom
The task cards are a part of a larger set of activities that include differentiated resources-- 'Twas the Night Before Christmas Digital Figurative Language & Writing Activities.  Students will identify the rhyme scheme and figurative language used.  In addition, this item is differentiated for lower level and more advanced learners.  By purchasing the bundle, you save $2.00.  If you're looking for the printable version, check it out here.

I hope you're able to get some great activities that will keep your students engaged as we get closer to Winter Break!  When do you get out for the holidays?  Our last day is December 20th!  I'm counting down the days...

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Why Students LOVE Quizlet

I've been using Quizlet for years in my classroom and love it so much that I recently completed the requirements to become a Quizlet Ambassador.  For those few (hopefully very few) who haven't used Quizlet before, it's a great website that allows both students and teachers to create their own study sets, based on any topic you're focusing on at the moment.  You can also use the search feature to find study sets others have created.  Using the info you plug in, Quizlet creates digital flash cards on the material you're studying.  But that's not all!  This amazing learning tool also generates interactive games and even tests, as well!

For those teachers who have students that struggle with word pronunciation or for students who are learning a new language, Quizlet has a text to speech feature.  Students can hear the words and definitions spoken out loud, and 18 different languages are currently supported.

In my classroom, we've used Quizlet to help prepare for almost every skill we learn.  From vocabulary to sentence structure, the options are endless.

Just when I thought Quizlet couldn't get any better, they came up with a collaborative game component, which allows students to work in groups to come up with the answer. With these simple steps, students are collaborating to choose the best answer choice using the study set you're currently working on:

  • Students go to
  •  Enter the game code that Quizlet automatically generates when you choose the "Live" option.
  • Students enter their name.
  • After all students have joined, Quizlet divides students into random groups.
Each group has to work together to match the correct word with the information provided to them.  Each group member has a different set of answers, so they are forced to communicate with one another in order to determine which group member has the correct answer.  It's the perfect tool to promote collaboration and communication.  What's even better, your students will BEG for more!!  

Have you used Quizlet in your classroom?  If so, how do you integrate this amazing resource?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

5 Steps to Creating Student Documentaries in Middle School

This year my students read books about the impact of Hurricane Katrina using digital lit circles.  Upon completion of their books/lit circles, students worked together to make documentaries on how the storm impacted different groups of people that experienced this catastrophe.  

I recently had the opportunity to share this process and five tips that I found to be crucial for students to successfully create documentaries in middle school on one of my favorite educational websites, WeAreTeachers.  This website is a great resource for classroom ideas and strategies, and I was honored to have a blog post featured.  

Check out my post on 5 Steps to Creating Student Documentaries in Middle School.  You won't want to miss the FREEBIE that's included!!

Source- WeAreTeachers

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Using Flipgrid in the Classroom

I'm constantly on the lookout for new ways to incorporate technology and other digital resources.  You can read about some of my favorites here.  With the start of each school year, I find myself searching for digital tools that I haven't tried before.  This year, I feel like I hit the jack pot!  For those of you who are just hearing about the amazing Flipgrid for the first time, boy are you in for a treat!!!  I loved it so much, I even took the necessary steps to become a Flipgrid Certified Educator!

Flipgrid is a video response platform where educators can have online video discussions with their students or other educators.  Teachers can provide feedback to their students once they have posted their video response, and students can also give feedback to one another.  There are endless opportunities to take advantage of Flipgrid in the classroom.

My students recently completed a hyperdoc where they reviewed the parts of speech.  The last activity in the hyperdoc was to reflect on and summarize what they had learned.  This is where Flipgrid came in! They shared their reflections using Flipgrid, and I was able to provide fast and easy feedback to each student.  You can provide written feedback, or you can click on a heart, light bulb, or any of the other emoji choices available if you're looking to do it quickly.  You can see a couple action shots from my students below.

So what are some other ways teachers can use Flipgrid in the classroom???  Here are 10 ideas to get you started:

  • Book Recommendations- Have your students share recommendations on books that they have read.  You can create a topic that's titled, "Book Recommendations."  When students are looking for books to read, they can head over to Flipgrid, and check out all of the books that have been recommended.
  • Formative Assessments- Have students discuss a particular skill that they have been learning in class.  This will show you how much they have (or haven't) learned.
  • Exit Tickets- Similar to a formative assessment, students can post a short video discussing the material they learned in class that day.
  • Student (AND Teacher) Introductions- At the start of a new year, students can use Flipgrid to introduce themselves to the teacher and the rest of the class.  The teacher can do the same.
  • Hyperdoc Activity- If you're using Hyperdocs (which is the greatest digital invention EVER), using Flipgrids would be a great addition to include!  As I shared above, it's the perfect way to wrap up all of the activities by having students reflect on all of the skills that have been covered.
  • Turning Point- Discuss the turning point or climax of a story or event.
  • Connect w/ other Flipgrid Users- Find other teachers who use Flipgrid and make plans to connect your classes.  You could possibly focus on the same topic or skill, and then ask questions, share responses, etc.  This could even be done with classes in other countries!
  • Watch & Respond- With Flipgrid, you can link a Youtube video or video you create.  Have students view the video and then post a response.
  • Stating Claim/Responding with Evidence- When I'm teaching my students the Argumentative Essay Writing process, they have to be able to clearly state their claim and prove it with supporting evidence.  Have them do this orally using Flipgrid. 
  • Oral Reading Responses- Rather than writing or typing answers to reading response questions, have them respond orally on Flipgrid.

There are 2 different options to choose from when creating an account:  Flipgrid One, the free version, and Flipgrid Classroom, which is the paid option that is $65/yr.  With the free version, you get 1 grid with unlimited topics and unlimited student videos.  Teachers can also provide individual student feedback.  With Classroom Flipgrid, in addition to all that comes w/ the free account, you also receive unlimited grids and unlimited student replies to responses.  Learn more about this here.  I recently made a video to show other educators how to use Flipgrid.  Check it out below:

Have you used Flipgrid with your students?  If so, I'd love to hear all about it in the comments below!

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Bonus Sale on Lit with Lyns Resources

I wanted to let you know that for today only, you can get 25% off of all of my resources using the code BTSBONUS at checkout!

This is a great time to stock up and make your life a little easier as you head back to school. I have added several new activities that will help you out as you get started here.  Enjoy and I hope you all have a wonderful year!!!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

ELA Live Series- August, 2017

Want to make this year your BEST YEAR EVER!?!  Let us help you make that happen!  We have 15 experienced ELA teachers who will be coming to you LIVE each night on Facebook, beginning August 1- August 15th!  We will share our tried and true tips and teaching strategies to help make this school year the most successful yet!  Check out our schedule below, and make plans to head over to each educator's Facebook page at the specified time.

Aug. 1st at 9 pm EST
"Project Based Learning for Secondary English Classrooms" with Mud & Ink Teaching

Aug. 2nd at 9 pm EST
"Strategies for Writing Commentary for Literary Analysis" with Bespoke ELA

Aug. 3rd at 9 pm EST
"Ideas and Strategies to Incorporate Choice Reading" with Doc Cop

Aug. 4th at 9 pm EST
"Pinpoint the Source of Most Reading Problems in Five Minutes" with Reading Simplified

Aug. 5th at 9 pm EST
"How to Teach Students to Elaborate on their Thinking" with English, Oh My! 

Aug. 6th at 9 pm EST
"How to Run a Book Club" with The Reading and Writing Haven

Aug. 7th at 9 pm EST
"Encourage Independent Reading in Reluctant Learners" with Samson's Shoppe

Aug. 8th at 9 pm EST
"Using Showcase Projects to Increase Engagement" with Spark Creativity

Aug. 9th at 4 pm EST
"How to Publish Student Writing Online and Create E-Portfolios" with Amanda Write Now

Aug. 10th at 9 pm EST
"5 Hidden Gems (books!) that Both Teachers and Students will Love with 2 Lifelong Teachers

Aug. 11th at 9 pm EST
"Starting on the Right Track with Struggling Secondary (Dependent) Learners" with Secondary Urban Legends

Aug. 12th at 9 pm EST
"Back to School Digital Escape Room" with Lit with Lyns

Aug. 13th at 9 pm EST
"Conferring with Student Writers" with Wild Child Designs

Aug. 14th at 9 pm EST
"Giving Meaningful Feedback to Writers" with Read it. Write it. Learn It. 

Aug. 15th at 9 pm EST
"Grammar Manipulations: Holding Language" with Language Arts Classroom.

I hope that these tips and strategies help you have a smooth start to the new school year!  What advice do you have to help other teachers get their school year off to a good start?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.