Yes, it is confusing...the holiday break. I, once again, awoke on the first morning of the break to the scratchy-throat-ed awareness that I was sick.

The holiday break is finally here - hooray! That is, until you wake up sick. While some of us may spend more holiday breaks than not recovering from illness, here are some free resources to help make your life a little easier!


I have a mile-long to do list each holiday, and each holiday, I get sick. I wallow on the couch, occasionally trying to get something done, but eventually succumbing to sleep. My son dances around me, asking if he can please have a coke or play "Grand Theft Auto."

That's the point when I lift my heavy head off the couch, croak a bleary "No!" and go back to sleep. I always awaken to him wasting his holiday away on Mincraft and cartoons.

Why does this happen every year? I don't know, but I've spoken to many other teachers who often endure the same fate. Someone once told me, "We hold it together, and then we collapse."

Perhaps.

Teaching is a great, family-friendly profession that allows for great hours and a LOT of time off.

But the time off is spent recuperating from and preparing for the whirlwind race that is the school year.

So here's to the holidays and making a teacher's life easier. Free stuff for your classroom below. Try not to write any lessons for the next week, and happy holidays!

From me, here's a free (for a limited time) lesson on analyzing primary sources. There are activities, a PowerPoint, and cloze notes.

Primary Source Analysis
Click Here!
Here are a set of free reading task cards from Jessica Tobin:

Self-Checking Story Element Cards
Click Here!
Here is a wonderful free Shakespeare Scavenger Hunt from Juggling ELA:

Shakespeare Scavenger Hunt
Click Here!
Or try this free clip art, perfect for Presidents' Day from Charlotte's Clips:

Presidents Day Clip Art
Click Here!

Enjoy, and let me know how your holiday is going in the comments below!

Stay tuned next week for my latest world history interactive notebook reveal and yet more fantastic freebies.

Until then,
Leah
This is how we usually test in my classroom:

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

We break out the dividers, and close ourselves off. Talking is a cardinal sin, and we look down, down, down. That's how testing should be, right? Well...yes. Most of the time.

But last week, we tried something new. Collaborative testing.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Notice, the dividers are stacked against the wall, and interactive notebooks are out. This is not a strategy I would use often, but I will use it occasionally. Here's why:

1. The students were focused.
2. They discussed questions.
3. They searched for answers.
4. In several cases, they chose not to answer as their partner did, but they explained why.

In short, they considered and discussed each response.

It was astounding to watch. I believe using it too often would cause the strategy to lose its effectiveness. Plus, a test definitely has value as an individual assessment.

But used sparingly, it encourages collaboration and debate.

The activity I'm having them do in the new year is the opposite--it encourages reflection and introspection. Students compare historical New Year's Resolutions to current ones and use foldables to create a booklet of their own.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

Collaborative testing is a strategy that secondary teachers might consider using sparingly in their classrooms. While individual testing certainly has its merits and its place, collaborative testing allows students to show what they know in a new way and to discuss and debate answers with a partner. Read more in this post.

You can get it for free here:

New Year's Resolutions
Get it Here!

It's also featured in the Arts and Humanities Teachers Pay Teachers Winter Holiday Ebook. This book is full of tips and free gifts from fabulous teacher-authors. It's a gem, and there's one for every grade level. Thanks a million to Julie Faulkner for taking the time to put this one together:

Arts and Humanities Teachers Pay Teachers Winter Holiday Ebook
Get it Here!
Speaking of fabulous teacher-authors, check out my fantastic free finds for this week:

On the management end of the spectrum, this lesson plan template from Michele Luck’s Social Studies is perfect for planning a whole unit:

Lesson Plan Template
Get it Here!
This high school freebie is an amazing deal from Jamie Edwards—Write On! It includes a PowerPoint, worksheets, and common core aligned lesson plans on teaching the writing process:

Introduction to Writing: The Stages of Writing
Get it Here!
And for teaching a difficult concept to the younger students or struggling readers, you can't beat this Inference Carousel Activity from The Teacher Treasury, complete with pictures, captions, and worksheets:
Making Inferences Picture #6
Get it Here!

Have you ever given collaborative tests? Leave a comment below, and let me know!

Enjoy your much-deserved winter break, and check back in next Monday for more teaching tips and freebies.

Until then!
Leah
Especially when it's about crime. Oh yes, all about crime. In my sociology class this past week, we cut out articles from the newspaper, explained what type of crimes they exemplified, and analyzed them under the umbrella of specific sociological theories.
Scrapbooking is a fun activity to do in the classroom, as long as you have an engaging topic and lots of solid guidelines for students! This sociology activity all about crime, deviance, and conformity will engage students and teach them a lot about these topics!

Scrapbooking is a fun activity to do in the classroom, as long as you have an engaging topic and lots of solid guidelines for students! This sociology activity all about crime, deviance, and conformity will engage students and teach them a lot about these topics!


It was engaging for the students, plus it re-enforced the information we needed to learn in our Deviance and Conformity Unit.

We followed the activity up by assigning punishments to the crimes based on Georgia's Crime and Punishment Code. The students read the suggested maximum punishment according to Georgia Law, and then explained the punishment they would dole out for each crime and why.

After that, we watched Frontline's "Solitary Nation," about the effects of solitary confinement in prison. The students answered questions on a film guide and considered alternatives to solitary confinement.

Overall, it was an engaging and relevant activity, and you can get all of the worksheets and links here:

Sociology Crime Scapbooks
Get it Here!
Two weeks 'til the holidays and working to keep it relevant! What are you doing to keep your students engaged so close to the finish line? Leave a comment below and let me know!

Here are my fabulous free finds for this week:

Astoundingly amazing clip art and borders from RebeccaB Designs:
Sunshine Frames Papers & Alpha
Get This Freebie Here!
Homework passes any student will covet from Queen of the Jungle:
Rock Star Owls Homework Pass
Get This Freebie Here!
And finally, a Non-Fiction Worksheet appropriate for nearly any grade and any subject from Ruth S:
Non-Fiction Trifold Template
Get This Freebie Here!
Have a quick and productive countdown to the break!

Check in next week for more fabulous freebies plus a bonus holiday activity from me.

Until then,
Leah
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