February 27, 2015

February Flashback


Today I’m linking up with Julie  at Faulkner’s Fast Five to join in with some Friday Flashback Fun for the month of February…wow, is that some awesome alliteration or what?


February 2015 has been a strange month for my family.  We came down with the flu, we took a few trips, we had several deaths in the family, baseball started for my boys, and we’ve had no rain when the rest of the country was being buried in snow.

Because of the illness and travel, I didn’t post as many things in my store this month as I had hoped, but I did add some cool updates to my TPT store front, from help from this blog post from Teachers Resource Force.

So, rather than going into detail about my February, here is a Friday Flashback in “Fotos”

We took a trip to the river (Parker, AZ) at the beginning of the month to check out the build of our vacation home.  We got stuck in a terrible traffic back up on the way home due to a turned over semi-truck.

We came home from the trip only to come down with the flu.  Even sick, these two are still pretty cute, although my son Tyler does look pretty pathetic in the waiting room of the doctor's office.  I won't even consider posting a sick photo of me.


I got to celebrate my birthday in beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea on the Central Coast of California with my husband.  Whale watching, beautiful scenery, and lots of wine...what more could a girl ask for?

I got to be a field trip volunteer to the aquarium with this little cutie, Ryan, and I helped my big 2nd grader run for class president.  Love his fake photo-shopped glasses.

I read a lot, posted some new resources in my TPT store, and registered for the TPT conference in July, which I can't wait to return to!

And I got to see a month-full of these amazing sunsets.  This one was taken from my front porch.

I hope that your February was a fun one, too.  Can't wait to see what March will bring!

February 23, 2015

What I've Been Up To

While much of the country has been buried under snow and facing freezing cold temperatures, I’ve been here in Southern California with temps in the 80s…and I couldn’t even enjoy it. 


The view from my front porch.


Unfortunately, Influenza  A took up residence in our house and we were hit hard.  After nursing my son back to better (after 5 days away from school), I came down with the flu and it was miserable.  Fever, bone chills, a persistent, aggressive cough.  I think that I’m pretty tough, and this flu kicked me in the butt!  I was sick for 14 days before feeling any relief, and even now, I’m still coughing.  But for me, the worst part was that feeling of not being able to work on TPT.  In January, I was on a roll and posted eight new resources.  I was hoping to keep my creative streak going, but it came to an abrupt halt when I got sick.  That’s life, right?  I’m finally back at it and hoping to get back on a schedule.

In other news, yesterday was my birthday and to celebrate, my husband and I were able to head out of town for a romantic getaway with no kids!  We took a long drive up to the Central Coast and spent the weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea.   We relaxed, took scenic drives, tried new restaurants, whale watched from shore, and drank lots of wine.  And it was perfect!  So even though I missed too many work days in February, I made the right decision not to cancel our trip. I missed one more Monday, but the time spent reconnecting with my love was well worth it.  Alas, back to work, and the real world,  tomorrow….

Looking out at Big Sur.  Whales were breaching so close to shore!

John Steinbeck and me on Cannery Row


So that's what I've been up to.  I hope that you’re having a good week, too.  What’s on your agenda?


February 8, 2015

Valentine's Day Blog Hop 2015

Valentine’s Day has always been a fun holiday for me… It started when I was a kid, and probably had something to do with my birthday following close behind, but for whatever reason, I’ve always loved the red and pink cuteness of it all.  The first Valentine’s Day I can remember must have been when I was five, and my mom had ordered chocolate checks for my day, my brother, and me, each check with our names inscribed in the chocolate with hugs and kisses as the payment. She had the three checks sitting on the dining table with balloons, heart sugar cookies, and stuffed animals, and I can still remember thinking that a holiday about love has got to be the best ever!  So with keeping with the love theme, I decided to join the Secondary Valentine’s Blog Hop with Lauralee Moss, Julie Faulkner, and Brynn Allison

This year I’m marking my 15th year as a teacher.  As with any profession, there are ups and downs, trials and tribulations, cherries and pits.  But, for certain, there is something about teaching that no matter what, keeps me coming back for more.  The kids!  Teaching high school is not always easy.  Students are going through tremendous growth and change, figuring out who they are and where they fit into the world. They start as new teenagers and exit as adults.  But along the way, they come to school looking to be accepted, challenged, trusted, respected, and loved.  When my students enter my class, I want them to know that I see them for who they are as well as who they are trying to be.  I make the effort to connect with them and let them know I care, and as a result, I get students who are truly willing to work for me.  They know that I believe in them and care about their success, and that makes them loyal and willing to put in the work, that they otherwise might not care to.  And that is what keeps me coming back year after year.

One thing that I like to do to connect with my students is to approach literature with music.  Students love music and they enjoy making the connections between parts of a novel or poem and the lyrics to a song.  When I teach The Odyssey to my freshmen, I wrap up the unit with an allusion in song lyrics project.  I use songs by theme when I teach The Catcher in the Rye to my juniors.  And I also use songs in class to teach about Veteran’s Day or celebrate Valentine’s Day, all while sticking to the standards.  Kids immediately buy in, and I get more bang for my buck.  These projects are all available in my TPT store.
   


Finally, as an English teacher, I love to read.  I love mystery, romance, true crime, historical fiction, just about anything I can get my hands on.  But I also love reading young adult literature.  I’m a big believer in independent reading for students and my class library is bursting at the seams (in fact, I need to purchase another shelf to hold all the books that I can’t hold).  So, to wrap up this love themed blog hop, I want to share the books that my students are loving right now:
   

       


Hope you have a Lovely week!


Valentine's Day Blog Hop 2015

Valentine’s Day has always been a fun holiday for me… It started when I was a kid, and probably had something to do with my birthday following close behind, but for whatever reason, I’ve always loved the red and pink cuteness of it all.  The first Valentine’s Day I can remember must have been when I was five, and my mom had ordered chocolate checks for my day, my brother, and me, each check with our names inscribed in the chocolate with hugs and kisses as the payment. She had the three checks sitting on the dining table with balloons, heart sugar cookies, and stuffed animals, and I can still remember thinking that a holiday about love has got to be the best ever!  So with keeping with the love theme, I decided to join the Secondary Valentine’s Blog Hop with Lauralee Moss, Julie Faulkner, and Brynn Allison

This year I’m marking my 15th year as a teacher.  As with any profession, there are ups and downs, trials and tribulations, cherries and pits.  But, for certain, there is something about teaching that no matter what, keeps me coming back for more.  The kids!  Teaching high school is not always easy.  Students are going through tremendous growth and change, figuring out who they are and where they fit into the world. They start as new teenagers and exit as adults.  But along the way, they come to school looking to be accepted, challenged, trusted, respected, and loved.  When my students enter my class, I want them to know that I see them for who they are as well as who they are trying to be.  I make the effort to connect with them and let them know I care, and as a result, I get students who are truly willing to work for me.  They know that I believe in them and care about their success, and that makes them loyal and willing to put in the work, that they otherwise might not care to.  And that is what keeps me coming back year after year.

One thing that I like to do to connect with my students is to approach literature with music.  Students love music and they enjoy making the connections between parts of a novel or poem and the lyrics to a song.  When I teach The Odyssey to my freshmen, I wrap up the unit with an allusion in song lyrics project.  I use songs by theme when I teach The Catcher in the Rye to my juniors.  And I also use songs in class to teach about Veteran’s Day or celebrate Valentine’s Day, all while sticking to the standards.  Kids immediately buy in, and I get more bang for my buck.  These projects are all available in my TPT store.
   


Finally, as an English teacher, I love to read.  I love mystery, romance, true crime, historical fiction, just about anything I can get my hands on.  But I also love reading young adult literature.  I’m a big believer in independent reading for students and my class library is bursting at the seams (in fact, I need to purchase another shelf to hold all the books that I can’t hold).  So, to wrap up this love themed blog hop, I want to share the books that my students are loving right now:
   

       


Hope you have a Lovely week!


February 2, 2015

Celebrate the Holidays with your Students

Do you celebrate the holidays with your classes?  As a high school English teacher, I've never paid much attention to the calendar holidays in my instruction, following my own pacing guide instead.  But, after 15 years, I'm starting to rethink this.  With the implementation of Common Core, I'm finding ways to meet standards and still play on the interests of my teenagers, relying a little less heavily on my own curriculum plan and a little more on timely, teachable moments.

One way that I'm planning to do this in February is with a new resource I uploaded to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Love Song Task Cards.  This resource is a collection of 40 task cards, each with an excerpt of a popular love song.


Since my freshman are just getting ready to start reading Romeo and Juliet, we're going to spend the Friday before Valentine's Day brushing up on our knowledge of figurative language.  Using the cards with popular song lyrics, the students will identify the specific type of figurative language used and explain its meaning.


I'm planning to hand each student a card, allow them a minute or so to read, identify, and explain, and then pass the card on to the next student.

When we start reading Romeo and Juliet the following Monday, the students will be adept at recognizing the figurative language that is so prominent in the play, and they will already be in the romantic spirit from the fun Valentine's Day activity.

What are some ways that you use holiday fun to teach your students?