Thursday, August 21, 2014

A very busy blogger

I have been the worst blogger! I feel guilty for not writing...but at the same time I've had to cut myself a little slack. I moved to a new apartment last weekend, and have spent all week in PD during the day, then stayed at school until dinnertime to work on my classroom. Needless to say, by the time I get home all I have energy for is to lay down and eat fast food at watch netflix. Well, that seems sad...
I tried to make a crockpot meal but 8 hours on high instead of 8 hours on low made for some very charred chicken. Oops. Better luck next time!

Which leads me to do teacher bloggers "do it all" during school? I guess I will have to get my act together or this blog is going to become very barren! And we don't want that.
I can't wait to be able to show pictures of my classroom...but not until it's done. It is getting there. Slowly but surely.

I'm really excited about a few things I bought during the TpT boost sale yesterday (I impulsively made some purchases at 11pm...) But I don't regret a single one! Having more resources make me feel much more prepared. Here are the goods...

For my 7th Grade ELA class:

For my creative writing elective:

Okay, so that wasn't a rhetorical do you find time for blogging (and eating regular meals?!) during the school year?

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - Binder Time!

I mentioned in my "meet me" post that something I love is to organize my life into binders...haha that sounds pretty dorky once I type it out ;) but I know my fellow teachers understand!

Do you have any binders that you refer to all of the time? I think my "teacher binder" will be my go-to!

I am linking up with Miss DeCarbo for Wordless Wednesday!

p.s. I found these binder covers and spines on TpT for free here! I loved the black and white designs!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Meet Me (Middle of Lit!)

I have loved learning more about other bloggers through this link-up, so now it's my turn!
Thank you to Falling into First for the opportunity :)

This year is my first year teaching! I will be teaching 7th Grade Language Arts (and a Creative Writing elective!) I am so excited to have a classroom of my own, and I know that this year will be quite an adventure. I'm glad you are along for the ride :)

Here is me in 7th grade. Awkward? Absolutely.
I think I'll show this to my 7th graders as a humbling experience ;) 

I am the oldest of three kids (I may have been the bossy older sister...) but I also think it's made me a good leader and someone who truly cares for other people.
My Mom is a first-grade teacher and I know I would not be the teacher (or human) I am today without her support! Hi Mom! She reads my blog.
After my parents, my boyfriend is my biggest fan :) he drove me to my teaching interviews and made me feel like I could do anything! And now I have a job - woohoo!

Now you know the basics...time for Q&A...

  • Traveling, thinking about traveling, and weekend trips
(my boyfriend and I on a cross-country skiing trip)
  • Spending time on teacher blogs (really! It is definitely a hobby of mine)

  • Food! Eating delicious food, trying new recipes, browsing Pinterest for food ideas
  • Good conversation, puns, and grumpy cat memes
  • School supplies, labels, organizing my life into binders


Oh man. This is hard for me because I've wanted to be a teacher for so long! Maybe an interior designer? I went through a phase in elementary school where I had an "interior design" notebook. I drew room plans and had fabric samples and paint chips to go along with each room...I do love decorating so that would be a fun outlet for me!

Compassionate. Listener. Organizer.

"I only work 40 hours a week"...okay maybe someone has figured out how to do that, but I know as a first year teacher I will be staying after school and working on the weekends!

BUT...I definitely know I need to set boundaries for myself. I think one of the best tips I received at a conference is that teachers need to set deadlines for leaving work at a certain time and sticking to it. This article is written by the speaker I just referenced and I think it's very helpful!

Hmm maybe the Queen of England. And lots of other princesses...we could have a tea party. That sounds lovely.

"Middle of Lit"...ha the only thing I can think of is my blog name. But that seems fitting! 

I would say the ability to fly! I could travel anywhere :)

Oh this one is SO hard for me. I love quotes and words and saying.

I have this poster that says "Choose Happy." Such a simple but important message (and sometimes hard to do!)

Oh I am a terrible singer. But I do love Billy Joel so perhaps one of his songs - though that would be incredibly difficult!

A night owl...I could stay up way too late if I don't make myself go to sleep! But, I also hate sleeping in too late. That may sound crazy, but I feel like I am wasting my day that way!


My Neon Classroom Genre Posters (for Middle School). It brings together everything I love right now - texts for the middle grades, neon, chalkboard, cute fonts, and developing a love for reading in my students! :)
Click on the picture to check these out on TpT :)


I studied abroad in Ireland for a semester! I was able to be a teacher's aide in a little school overlooking the ocean. It was an awesome experience...and being able to visit London, Paris, Rome, and Barcelona during my Spring Break really fueled my travel bug. I can't wait until I can visit Europe again!

Standing on Giant's Causeway

 At the top of St. Peter's Basilica

Head on over to Falling into First to meet more bloggers!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Monday Made It - Spray Paint Edition

I mentioned last Friday that not only am I setting up my first classroom, but I am moving into a new apartment this Saturday! Eeek!

This Monday Made it is "Apartment Edition...Starring Spray Paint!" I have seen some awesome re-do's for the classroom with just a can of spray paint. I have a few classroom projects too but those aren't quite as done as these are.

1) I bought this gold framed mirror for $7 - I knew it had some greater potential :)

And...the finished product!

2) I also gave this tray a little makeover - it was printed before and just didn't quite match what I had in mind for my living room :)

Here's what it looks like after a spray paint facelift and a piece of scrapbook paper!

3) Okay, okay...this doesn't count as a "made it" but I'm going to call it a "Monday Found It"...because sometimes for me half the battle is making a decision...especially when it comes to something as important as fabric ;)

Even though I am teaching middle school, I want to add some homey touches to my room...for both the students and myself! I found this fabric at Hobby Lobby - perfect for a neon and black room :)

Eventually (I hope) I will be making curtains and I'll share the finished product then. There are some "no-sew" curtains out there that look very easy :)
Look at this one! All you need is a hot glue gun!

I am off to pack, pack, pack, browse TpT and Pinterest for hours on end, and pack some more!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Five For Friday - Schedules & Spray Paint

I love Fridays because it means I can link up with both Doodlebugs Teaching and Teaching Blog Addict (last week I was randomly picked as the featured freebie! Ahh I couldn't believe it!)

Here we go!

Tracee Orman (THE Tracee Orman) commented on my "What I bought" blog post from Wednesday. I wrote about buying three of her resources so that must be what brought here here :)
Still, I was starstruck. She has such incredible resources and knowledge of literacy instruction. And...she is following me! I even took a screenshot because it made me day :)
Yes, I am kind of a dork...

These printed, laminated, cut, and bound "Story Elements Question Fans" (Runde's Room) make me SO happy. It was easy enough to do during a few Parks and Rec episodes :)
The Plot fan is really going to come in handy during my first unit.
I'm thinking of using these as a "must do" (I will also have "may do's" for early finishers) during workshop time. They are easy to differentiate for my different groups.
Does anyone else use these? I'd love to hear how!

I move in 8 DAYS! The process of moving to my own apartment and setting up my very first classroom is both extremely excited and overwhelming. I am thankful for all of it but oh, man there is a lot to do!
Want a few sneak peeks?
Here is my classroom library and an apartment project in-process (stay tuned for Made it Monday to see the little spray paint party I had :)

(I almost forgot to take a before picture! Yikes!)

So. I found out that get to design my own curriculum for my Creative Writing elective. The freedom and choice I have is AWESOME but also - whoa, so many decisions to make! 
So I am asking you, dear readers of this small blog...have any of you ever taught a creative writing elective before? With the trimester format, it will be about 12 weeks long. I have some ideas rattling around but and guidance would be forever appreciated :)

With moving to a new apartment and classroom, I knew that I needed a space to keep track of things outside of I made a little "Weekly Schedule" page. This schedule helps me to see the big picture and keeps me accountable
If you think it's something that would work for you, I would love for you to download this Freebie from my TpT store!

There are a few ways to use this. Either use my template as-is, or use the blank template to write in your own labels. I put mine in a page protector and used a vis-a-vis marker. 
(Okay, I'll be honest...I made my schedule look "prettier" before I took a picture, so this isn't completely realistic. But only exercising once this week least I was honest about that!)
You could also print these out and write on it however you wish...a Flair pen would be lovely...

Let me know if this helps you! That would make my day :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

What I bought!

After much deliberation (SO many amazing products to choose from!), here is what I bought during the TpT sale!

5) Differentiated Writer's Workshop - The SuperHERO Teacher
6) KG Single Font Commercial License (things are about to get real cute around here)
7) Creative Activities for ANY Novel or Short Story with Handouts - Tracee Orman (I see a pattern!!)
8) My Life in 30 Words - Addie Williams

Link up to show off what you bought!

Did you buy any of the same things that I did?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What I Laminated...

I wasn't kidding about showing off what I laminated!

I love you too.

Anyways...I wanted you to see products I am using for sure in my classroom, and my plans for them! Some of these are freebies, and all of them are great deals...especially during the TpT sale! :)

Kagan Team Labels
I learned about the Kagan grouping strategies last week (now, I wasn't "formally" trained...aka there wasn't an official Kagan representative there...but I got a very good gist!) and I knew I wanted to do something similar. It is so important to me that all students are responding in some way every day. No more hiding in the back of the room and not participating. Mwahaha!
I have to admit, I was sometimes that "shy" student who knew the answer but didn't want to be a show-off. Another reason why I love cooperative learning - everyone has an equal turn and it's important they they are part of the group! Whew - I have lots to say about this. Another post, another day...

I'm thinking I'll tape these down to desks and I will easily be able to call groups such as "Team 4", or "Same color A's" or "2A's and 4A's" to get together during guided practice/checking for understanding.

And, I printed these on neon paper so you know I am just in love with them.

Get these awesome cards (there are a few variations at Melissa Gill's store, so peek around!) here

P.s. if you're wondering why mine look different...I just cut off the scallop border. I wanted them a little smaller and not cutting out each scallop/the possibility of them being uneven made me too OCD-nervous.
Oh, and I love that there are 32 cards in the set! 

Back to School "Insta-Style"
What middle schooler doesn't love instagram? I'm planning to use these during the first week of school as practice for the workshop model. Ideally, I will be teaching procedures and learning about the students at the same time :) oh, and they'll be having fun too! I am still deciding exactly how I will do this - maybe we will also practice a "write around" - where students share around in groups and one student from the group shares out. 
I'm also thinking that these would make a cute student work display! Oh the possibilities...

I was extra lucky and downloaded it when it was a freebie, but there is a set with 33 task cards! I think it's worth it, these are so fun!

Getting to Know You Quiz-Quiz-Trade
After learning about Kagan collaborative group structures last week at my new teacher orientation, I was SO excited to find these. Not only will students get to know each other better, but they will be practicing the quiz-quiz-trade format which I plan to use often :) win-win!

Get this awesome (and cute!) freebie here
I printed these on neon green paper :)

Plot Task Cards
I won't be using these the very first week, but Unit 1 is all about Plot, Character, and Setting (my school uses Holt Lit). So, these will be used (during workshop again!) within the first month of school for sure. I love that there is an option to respond on the back of the card - students could use dry erase or vis-a-vis (instantly more fun) to show the elements of plot.

Find these task cards (and worksheet format, too!) here

Does anyone else use Kagan collaborative group structures in their class? I would love to learn more from teachers who have used it before!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Monday Made It 8/3

I am having so much fun creating products;  I decided to make another version of  my middle school genre posters! I realize that the neon theme is not for everyone, so I made a simple black & white version to coordinate with any classroom. So, here's my first Monday Made It...

Click on the picture to view these on TpT

Now, does laminating count as "making" something? I hope so :)
Last night my Mom and I both worked in her classroom - she was setting up for summer school and I was laminating up a storm.

So shiny! So beautiful! So durable!

I'll link to the products I laminated tomorrow..."What I Laminated Tuesday"?! I could start a linky ;) just kidding...mostly...

I will tell you now that I laminated some first week-or-so of school things...getting to know you cards and classroom set up stuff.

My first week activities are starting to come together in my mind...actually I started putting together a PowerPoint slide to organize my thoughts because I can't trust my mind to remember all my ideas :)

OH! Happy Back to School TpT shopping! I had fun putting products in my cart today. I can't say for certain that I will buy everything in my cart, but it's there...just in case...

I do the same thing when I shop online for clothes and such...put things in my cart for safekeeping :) this way I can sleep on my ideas before I purchase! Though, I need to snatch up these great deals by August 5th! Want to see what I have so far? Okay!

I will let you know what I end up buying!
What are you getting during the BTS Sale? Any products that could be used for 7th Grade ELA? :)