July 27, 2015

Making Meaning with Melissa Goes Back to School

Hey, there!  I'm so excited to be joining  my fellow Literary League members for a Back to School Blog Hop. I'm beyond excited to have you here, and for us to unveil the team.

First, let's get acquainted.  I'm Melissa, mommy to 3, wife to Scott, English teacher, book lover, TPT teacher-author, sun worshipper, wine drinker...you're starting to get the idea. I'm lucky to live in sunny Southern California, Surf City, USA, to be exact, and when I'm not creating engaging classroom resources, you can find me on the beach or at the river. 



I'm a busy sports mom with my two youngest guys, Tyler and Ryan, playing football, soccer, and baseball throughout the year.  Our eldest son, Kyle, is in his second year of college at Cal State Long Beach and is also pursing his pilot's license.

I've been teaching since 2000, after I graduated from the University of Miami with my degree in English literature and secondary ed., and my teaching credential.  Remember I said I was a sun-worshipper -- well, that was a huge part of my college-choosing process and Miami fit the bill!  I've worked in both junior high and high school settings, but I'm going on my 11th year teaching at my current high school, where I teach freshman and junior English, as well as inclusion classes.  I also have a master's degree in educational administration, but I don't see me leaving the classroom for awhile - teenagers are too fun to work with!  Plus, there's no way I'm ready to leave my class library behind for a small admin office!
Wouldja just look at all these books!!  LOVE!
Books!  Now there's a subject I could go on and on about, but for now, let's narrow it down.  Asking an English teacher to pick a favorite book is like asking a fashionista to pick her favorite pair of shoes...it's nearly impossible!  So here are a few of my favorites in different categories: for personal reading, I've loved Beach MusicMe Before You, and Leaving Time.  For reading to my boys, I've enjoyed Charlotte's WebThe One and Only Ivan, and Wonder (and I can't wait to start reading Harry Potter together).  To teach, I love To Kill a MockingbirdThe Hunger Games, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.  And to recommend to teenagers, I love anything John Green, the Maze Runner series, Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, and my absolute favorite, All the Bright Places.  Because I have such a large class library (the picture above is from my old room. My new class has an office that I've converted to a library), and I read and recommend so many YA books to my students, they are willing to trust my choices and end up enjoying many of the same books that I do.  

When school starts up, I like to do a quick getting to know you activity right away, something that is low-risk and fun, yet doesn't put the new students on the spot.  This year, I'll be doing an this FREE getting to know you activity, where students will create an instagram post about one fun activity they did over the summer.  They can add a short summary and hashtags to sum up the fun. This is easy and fun, and makes for a great Back to School bulletin board.  Once a few days have gone by and students feel more comfortable in class (my little freshmen in particular), I like them to complete this focus-finding essay that tells me lots about who they are as people. Plus, it's super informative and thought-provoking for the students.
 

How ever you start your new school year, I hope that it's one of your best ever.  Now, don't forget to stop by the rest of the Literary League's blogs and check out their awesome ideas!


16 comments:

  1. I love the Instagram post idea! So much fun. I would love to do this with my students as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! If you end up doing the Instagram activity, I'd love to hear how it goes. Have a great back to school!

      Delete
  2. I love Aristotle and Dante! What a great book. The instagram idea is awesome. Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it a great book? I feel like it's so underrated, but my kids really enjoy it. Wishing you a great school year!

      Delete
  3. I have to balance boys and teaching also - (2 boys + 1 husband) . I also enjoy most of the books you mentioned but have never read All the Bright Places so I will have to check that out! :)

    -Lisa
    Mrs. Spangler in the Middle

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely do check it out. It's heartbreaking, but so good. And I've seen your balancing act on instagram. Boys keep us busy, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. Have a great year!

      Delete
  4. I love your Back to School Instagram activity! It is such a fun activity and could also serve as a way to have students help you create one of your bulletin board by displaying their work! Thanks for sharing!

    Stephanie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I definitely think I'm going to use the activity for a bulletin board. Thanks for stopping by. I hope you have a fantastic school year!

      Delete
  5. I'm so jealous of your classroom library. You must have a huge classroom.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am lucky to have a big classroom to fit my, but I do admit to being a book addict. My husband would rather me not "invest" so much in the library, but I can't help it!

      Delete
  6. Great pics of you and your boys! Your classroom looks amazing too!
    The Instagram activity looks like sooo much fun.

    ~Addie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Addie! I hope that you have a fantastic school year!

      Delete
  7. Can you send some of that sunshine to Ohio, starting around October? :) Love your blog design, by the way!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OK, sunshine coming up! Could you send some rain our way? And thank you for the blog design compliment. Blogs Fit for a Queen did a great job!

      Delete
  8. Your classroom looks AMAZING! I pinned the picture to my Classroom Inspiration Board because it is that awesome :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you! I love to decorate my room - I might as well enjoy it if I'm going to be spending so much time here, right? Fabric for the walls makes a huge difference. I hope you have a great year - it's gonna be tough after being out on maternity leave. I'm sending you positive thoughts!

      Delete

I Love Comments!