Thursday, May 28, 2015

Link Up w/ Julie Faulkner from Faulkner's Fast Five

Faulkner's Fast FiveThis month I’m linking up with the incredible Julie Faulknerof Faulkner’s Fast Five to share the latest happenings for the month of May!  Our last day of school was May 22nd, so this month has been extremely busy!  After having our state testing, we still had a couple weeks left to get the kids engaged (and we all know how hard that can be at this point in the year). Here are a couple of the activities that seemed to keep them focused:

End of Year Student Reflection- this is a great way to get feedback from your students on how they feel that the year went.  This product includes a survey that is class specific, and one that addresses their school year, in general.  I love seeing what they liked, disliked, etc. and it helps me to prepare for the next school year.

Another activity we used to review point of view, are these Point of View task cards.  They cover 1st, 2nd, 3rd person limited, 3rd person omniscient, and 3rd person objective.  As I’ve said before, my students LOVE using task cards.  This is a great cooperative activity!  I usually put my students into groups of 4 or 5, and allow them to work together; however, you can use whatever works best for your students.

We also used one of I’m Lovin’ Lits fantastic products—Earth Day No Prep Reading Activities.  You can purchase this hereIt includes tons of neat articles, as well as a cause and effect analysis of the Disney movie, Wall-E.  It’s perfect for this time of year, and is an awesome way to keep kids focused and entertained.

Although summer summer break has officially began, I’ll still be busy w/ a couple gifted certification courses, as well as a curriculum writing day at my school.  But most of all, my time will be spent at the baseball field w/ my son and his incredible All-star team.  These kids are amazing and I can’t wait to watch them play!  My son would be the one on the front row (2nd from the left) making the silly face!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sailing Into Summer Blog Hop

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It’s almost that time again…the time of year that we thought would never come… SUMMER VACATION!    I can certainly say (as I typically do every year) I have never been so ready!  So as we get ready to “sail into summer,” I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’m already thinking of next year and what I plan to do again, as well as what I'll do differently.

Something I will do again

I will definitely use task cards again next year.  This was the first year that I have really incorporated this rather consistently, and I have to say, they were a huge hit with my students.  Not only did they feel like they were getting somewhat of a choice (even though that wasn’t necessarily the case) but it was also a great way for students to work collaboratively with their groups.  There are a number of ways that you can use task cards, depending on what works best for your students.  It's also a fantastic strategy for differentiation.  This is another reason I love them so much!

Something I will do differently

I will continue to use Interactive Notebooks, as this is a strategy our entire ELA dept. is trying to incorporate.  But next year I will use a compositional journal/notebook, rather than a 3 ring binder, and I will make sure to include a table of contents!  This was my first year of attempting to use the IN regularly, and so I was able to identify what worked and what didn’t.  Hopefully next year, it will be easier to use, and I’m also hoping to do this even more often than I have this year.  I'd love to hear any advice you have regarding interactive notebooks!  What are your "must do" tips? 

I also LOVE teaching a novel at the end of the year, that's also been made into a movie.  We all know that our kiddos love watching movies at school.  What better time of year to do it, than right before summer break!  My class is currently reading The Giver, by Lois Lowry, which is such a wonderful book.  I also purchased a terrific unit lesson plan on the book from Presto Plans.  Check this out here.  Presto Plans has a fantastic TPT store if you're looking for secondary ELA products.  One thing I will do differently next year, is to start teaching this book earlier, so that I'm able to use more of the activities.  There is SO much you can do w/ this novel, and it's a great way to cover multiple Common Core Standards while keeping your students engaged...especially at the end of the year when that's so hard to do!

As we "sail into summer," I'd like to wish all of the hard-working teachers a much deserved, wonderful summer break!  I hope you enjoy every minute of it!


Saturday, May 16, 2015

What Secondary Teachers Do to Relax & Recharge

Thanks so much to the Secondary Smorgasbord for coordinating the link up on how secondary teachers relax and recharge.  With only 5 more days of school for students, I can almost taste the smell of our smoldering hot Georgia summers.  With 2 boys (ages 8 and 6) relaxing for me probably looks a little different than it does for others. 

My family spends most of our summers on the baseball field.  My oldest son plays on a traveling all-star team, which means we’ll spend the majority of our weekends on the bleachers cheering him on!  That pretty much sums up the All-American family though, doesn’t it?!?  I can honestly say, I wouldn’t have it any other way!  The other players and their families have become our family as well, so we absolutely LOVE it!

Don’t get me wrong…if given the opportunity, we’ll try to find time to make it to my parent’s beach house just outside of Myrtle Beach, SC.