Friday Link Up!

Friday Link Up

10 Back-to-School Tips for Teachers Using Google Docs via Te@chThought

Cultivating Creativity in Standards-Based Classrooms via Edutopia

“Interactive Sites for Education” Roundup from Larry Ferlazzo

Why Are There Silent Letters in the English Language from Mental Floss (via Larry Ferlazzo)

Ten Free Apps and Tools for Starting Out (and Staying) Organized via Edutopia

Favorite Pins

Setting Up Your Classroom: 9 Practical Things You May Not Have Thought Of via Teach 4 the Heart

Practice Makes Perfect: Citing Textual Evidence via Lesson Planet

53 Ways to Check for Understanding via Edutopia

Pre-Planning Day One

It was the most difficult thing in the world, or at least that had happened to me in the past twelve hours, to wake up when my alarm went off Monday morning at 5:00 AM.  I had been promising myself that I would practice waking up early, going to the gym, and being my vibrant self before 8:00 AM.  Welp.  Let’s just say that I should have started earlier.  Lessons for next summer.

It’s difficult to complain because I had a glorious ten weeks away from the classroom to rejuvenate my weary mind and soul.  Also, I have the best job in the world.  I truly do believe that, and it’s not because I haven’t “done it” since June 5th.

Monday’s agenda called for a meet-and-greet with the new staff members, getting caught up with old friends, and eating!!!  Breakfast and lunch were provided by our administration, so it was much easier to get back into the “listen and take notes/serious mode.” As an added bonus, we were given about two hours in our classrooms that we were not expecting.  I switched classrooms this year, so this was definitely a plus in my mind.

BEFORE Classroom 2013 2

BEFORE Classroom 2013

Yes, I had to say goodbye to my GORGEOUS wall mural, but after meeting the awesome teacher who will be its new owner, it was much easier to pass the torch.

Wall Mural

 

I am always nervous meeting the new-hires because of the unknown, but after getting some time to chat, I am even more excited about the prospect of being head of this wonderful department!  Speaking of that, I have my first meeting as department head this afternoon.  My goals for this new position:

  1. Be open and a good listener
  2. Never let the “power” go to my head
  3. Work as a team, which was truly lacking in my past experiences
  4. Create innovative and effective strategies within our department
  5. Be the bra of the department: it’s all about support!
  6. Be the type of person that everyone can feel comfortable talking to and coming to with questions or advice

 

What I’m Reading Monday

Anyone else heading back to school after summer vacation today and need another cup of coffee?

Last night I spent quite a bit of time reviewing my lesson plans, double checking that my copies had been made, reread and highlighted my syllabus, and spent quite a bit of time praying for strength, confidence, and poise to get me through six renditions of my “Welcome to Freshmen English.”

Amen!

Last week on Thursday I finally received my pin number from the Jacksonville Public Library, allowing me to check out ebooks and audiobooks to my iPad.  I am really excited about being able to get FREE books, and I checked out a book called, Please Ignore Vere Dietz by A.S. King.

   From Goodreads.com  Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie Kahn. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything.
 
So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone—the kids at school, his family, even the police. But will she emerge to clear his name? Does she even want to?
 
Edgy and gripping, Please Ignore Vera Dietz is an unforgettable novel: smart, funny, dramatic, and always surprising.

I absolutely loved this book.  From the very beginning, I knew that novel had something special.  The voice that A.S. King gave to the narrator, Vera, was very strong and organic.  You could instantly feel her angst over the emotional duality of loving and hating her dead best friend.  WHOAH!  Intrigue galore!  But this novel is so much more than the angst of abandonment and loss.  The layers that are peeled away as the plot thickens adds so much to the connection between Vera and the reader.  King has the reader craving to know more about Vera’s past, her absentee, ex-stripper mother and her equally fragile father, and how she is able to keep it together, day in and day out.  So many tragic things happen in Vera’s life, it’s no wonder she simply wants to be ignored.