July 2015 Wrap Up

Highlights of the Month

Top Posts

Top 5 Posts of July:

5.  What is Your Reading Style?

4.  Analyzing Fiction and Nonfiction Strategies

3.  How to Begin your PrePlanning

2.  Planning Tools

1.  The Reading I Didn’t Do and Classroom Bootcamp 

Books I’ve Read:

Classroom FYI:


Teacher New Year’s Resolutions 2015

The Pensive Sloth blog offered up the Top 10 Teacher New Year’s Resolutions and I couldn’t resist sharing them with you.  Some are worth working on and others are just completely out of the question; I am a human after all!

Three resolutions I’m likely to attempt:


I have to compliment myself on being fairly punctual with my turnaround time with grading.  What I need to work on is giving more specific feedback on assignments, as opposed to “Good Job!” and “Awkward.”teacher-resolutions-4-lesson-plans

My lesson plans are always in on time, sometimes they are less than specific.  I want to work on creating a solid unit plan as opposed to getting by, week-to-week, by the skin of my teeth.


I am working on implementing more activities that are student-led as opposed to teacher-led.  This is tough for me, but we are all works in progress.  Baby steps are better than heels dug in.

Three resolutions that just ain’t gonna happen!


Let me clarify this one: I am not saying that I don’t find value in PD sessions, but I want to focus on the word “demeaning.”  More often than not, I find wisdom and insight from each PD sessions that we have, but there are also those presenters who come in with some flashy “new gimmick” that insult the intelligence of the teaching staff they are working with.  Just putting a new name on an old strategy doesn’t make it worth my time.

I think all teachers have a love/hate relationship with the copy machine.  We understand one another and accept the relationship.  When it’s bad, it’s horrible; when it’s good, it’s fabulous!

‘Nuff said.

Gratitude Posting Day One

This morning I addressed some personal issues that I am facing and some suggestions for how to overcome the negativity to move forward.  One of my SMART goals that I developed to help break myself out of the cycle is to record five things I am grateful for each day, three parts of my day that brought me happiness, and one way to make tomorrow an even better day.  I use this 5-3-1 strategy with my students when we view a video clip or read a text and I am looking for them to interact with it.  The criteria for each of the 5-3-1 segments is different than what I am using it for today, allowing me to personalize it for the specifics of the assignment and purpose.

Daily Gratitude

Five Things I’m Grateful For

  1. My understanding husband who supports me no matter what.
  2. Second chances and Do-overs
  3. The sweetest puppy in the world who greets me with as much enthusiasm today as the day before and the day before that.
  4. With the temperatures dropping each day, the heat in my home, car, and place of employment.
  5. Supportive friends who understand me and never let me forget that I am loved.

Three Things that Brought Me Happiness Today

  1. School Spirit.  Today was Class Colors day during Spirit Week.  While it shouldn’t really bring me happiness to see the competitive side come out between my students, what did bring a genuine smile to my face was seeing how it brought together the most unlikely of pairs within each grade level.  Students were complimenting each other on their outfits based on class-assigned colors, their face paint, and creativity.  Seeing them come together made me happy.
  2. The last class period of the day is a tough one to teach in for many reasons: students are squirrelly because they’re ready for the end of the day, they’re exhausted mentally, and I am both!  Today, I knew that it would be important to talk to my students about the culture in our classroom.  There are many different cliques present, so there is little cohesion socially.  Today we had a sit-down, literally on the floor, on the floor.  We talked about ways that we could come together as a group, the role that each of us plays in moving forward, and how we want to be able to communicate with each other going forward.
  3. Survivor was on our DVR when we walked through the door tonight.  My husband and I are big fans, so this is something we look forward to each week.

One Improvement for Tomorrow

  • A lot of positive momentum was established today amongst my students.  I am going to remind them that I am incredibly proud of how we came together as a group.