Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday February Highlights

This is a fun idea from Julie Faulkner over at Faulkner's Fast Five--the last Friday of every month, teacher bloggers will link up to share highlights from the month. In the tradition of Julie's fast five, I will share my top 5 moments of February, 2015.

This was a fantastic month for my family. My husband got a teaching job (YAY!!!), we had an entire week off for mid-winter break (lots of family fun time), I got a new laptop (my husband and I no longer have to share), and we finally found a board game that my son likes (no small feat, and board games are my favorite pastime).

But for the short month of February, I thought I'd take you to my TPT store for my Fast Five. I opened shop in July of 2014, and I'm excited that it seems to be taking off.

Visit my Store!
1) I changed my store badge to be more descriptive of what I sell (it's not just my boring mug anymore).

2) I added a header to my storefront that leads to my bundles. I think it looks way better than the old quote.

3) I uploaded my 100th product!
4) I streamlined my custom categories.
5) And finally, I am in the process of editing product covers and previews to make them more descriptive. This is a slow, arduous process, but at least it's begun.

                                        Get it Here!

Check back for my regular blog on Monday, and stay tuned for next month's highlight's on the last Friday in March!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

February Funnies: My Top 10 "Jenius" Moments

Oh teaching…there never was a job more frustrating…or more fun.

And some of the best stories come from middle and high school classrooms. That's why several secondary bloggers are linking up this week to share some of our funniest classroom moments with you!

Throughout the years that I've spent in the classroom, I have religiously kept a journal, a “Jenius Journal.” It is oh so full of “jenius” moments from my classroom. Tonight I will share a few entries that don’t quite qualify as genius, but they definitely make the “jenius” cut!

I have created a top 10 list of my classroom “jenius” moments, so here goes:

10. Once, when my 10th grade world history class was studying the Reformation, one of my students asked me, “Who was that guy who posted the 95 feces?”
9. One of my 11th grade U.S. history students said during the 2008 presidential elections, “Barack Obama can’t be president—he was born in Hawaii, not the U.S.”
8. I accidentally told a group of 8th grade English students, as an example of hyperbole, “I’m so hungry, I could eat a whore.” Oops…meant to say horse. The class was lost for the rest of the block.
7. A student vomited all over his desk at 8:30 AM—I felt horrible for him, until I discovered he had had copious amounts of vodka and orange juice for breakfast.
6. A student asked, “Ms. Cleary, when will we ever use this in life?” while I was reviewing proper hand-washing techniques to prevent the spread of flue.
5. I busted a student cheating on a quiz, and he responded, “Don’t you want me to get a good grade?”
4. Over the years, students have laughed every time our vocabulary word has been “assassin,” “Shiite,” or “Hellenistic”—every. time.
3. I still can’t draw the U.S. Southeast on the board without it looking inappropriate. Giggles fly around the classroom. Never again, I always think.
2. One of my seniors came back from the restroom, after turning in two freshmen for throwing toilet paper all around the boys’ room. I was so proud of him because he had chastised them, saying, “You need to respect your school, man.” A while later one of the principals came to get him. The freshmen had retaliated by informing the administrator that my student had been in the boy’s room vaping. They got detention—my senior was suspended.

And the number 1 “jenius” moment in my career thus far….

1.       A student at our rival high school got in-school-suspension. He emailed a bomb threat from his own account to get out of it—the school is pressing charges.

What are your funniest teaching moments? Leave a comment below to let me know! And don’t forget to check out the fantastically funny stories from the amazing teachers linked up here!

ELA Buffet
Desktop Learning Adventures

Monday, February 9, 2015

Love is in the Blogosphere this Valentine's Day!

Every culture has different Valentine's traditions. Whether they call it Valentine's Day or not, most cultures devote at least one day a year to the celebration of love.

In the U.S. and many western nations, we give cards, chocolates, flowers, and even jewelry to our sweethearts on February 14.

In Japan and South Korea, women give expensive chocolates to their significant other. The men give the ladies gifts on March 14.

In Malaysia, single women write their numbers on oranges and throw them into a river, hoping that their soul-mate will find it and call them. Usually, local merchants go fishing for these. They are considered good luck, and sell at top dollar.

But the stories are the best. In the West we've forgotten them, but in China, they still tell the tale of Niulong, a mortal who fell in love with a fairy. Although they were forbidden by the jade emperor to be together, Niulong rode magic shoes to the heavens to be with his beloved. The jade empress created the milky way as a barrier between them, but her heart was softened by a flock of magpies that built a bridge for the lovers, and she allowed them to be together one day a year. The Chinese celebrate that day in August. They call it Qixi, and it is very similar to Valentine's Day.

The story that Hallmark has made us forget in the West is the tale of St. Valentine. St. Valentine lived in the 3rd century A.D. under the Roman Empire. The emperor had outlawed marriage among young people because he believed that marriage made men weak soldiers. St. Valentine married many young couples in secret.

He was eventually caught and sentenced to death. While in prison, St. Valentine allegedly prayed with the blind daughter of one of the guards, and her sight was restored. He wrote her a note that said, "From your Valentine." The first Valentine!

This Valentine's Day, keep the stories alive with this web quest about Valentine's Day in different cultures--answer key included. I use it in my sociology class, but it's also great for world history and other subjects.

Get it Here!
Or have your students analyze sonnets and write one. Why buy a card when you can write a sonnet? There are answer keys and even a sample original sonnet.

Get it Here!
And here is my Valentine's Day gift to Valentine's borders. Use them commercially or personally.

Happy Valentine's! Click Here!
What's your favorite Valentine's Day story? Leave a comment below to let me know.

See you next Monday!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Can't Live Without It--Free Ebooks!

So, here I am, with a bonus Thursday post this week. I couldn't wait until Monday because I downloaded these ebooks, and they are too good not to share.

They have advice and a free ready-to-use printable from various excellent TPT Teacher-Authors. I plan to use a couple of these resources in my classroom next week!

Here's a link to my separate resources:

Get it Here!

Get it Here!
Below are links to all of the complete ebooks:

Brain Waves Instruction, Literary Sherri, Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy, and Lindsay
Perro have worked to compile 4 FREE ‘Can’t Live Without It’ eBooks filled with 120
instant print-and-teach resources for all you busy teachers out there! The eBooks profile
middle school and high school teacher-authors and include printable teaching resources
from 30 TpT stores in each eBook. The eBooks are categorized for ELA, Math, Science,
and Humanities (Social Studies, Art, Foreign Language, and more ELA). In them you’ll
learn things that each TpT teacher-author can’t live without and you’ll receive a 1-page
resource they think YOU can’t live without! They’re made especially for all of you and
you can check them all out here:

Get it Here!

Get it Here!

Get it Here!

Get it Here!

Enjoy these fantastic freebies, and I'll see you again on Monday!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Why We Do It (Teach, That Is)

Today was...Monday... and like many teachers (and students) out there, I hit snooze more than once. I rolled into work with an extra-large, extra-strong cup of coffee. I didn't have my glasses--I broke them on Friday, so I was kind of disoriented. Fortunately for others on the road, I'm far-sighted.

I had a mile-long to-do list for my planning block, but when I sat down at my computer, my Outlook calendar reminded me (very rudely, I might add) that this was the day two particularly tedious administrative tasks were due, and it's me, so I hadn't begun either yet.

Right away, I realized I would be taking home copious amounts of work, and I had to get my son to wrestling practice in the evening. And I thought I was caught-up on Friday....When will I learn?

Oh--and the heater busted in one of the older buildings at my school, so another class met in my room on my planning, making my computer unavailable to me. The highlight of that? It was my best work friend's class, so I had actual adult conversation this morning (a huge plus to all teachers out there). The down-side? I got oh so little done.

Then my phone rang, and it was the nurse from my son's school. Fever, wheezing, poor kid, but all I could think was, "I don't have time to prep for a sub." Husband to the rescue! He picked the kid up and got him to the doctor. Oh, my, but that kid is sick!

And my students today--I've rarely seen such lethargy interspersed with bouts of uncontrollable gregariousness. They went from zero to 500 and back to zero again several times over the course of each block. And what did we learn? Please don't ask them (or me, for that matter). We were supposed to use the IPADS for a QR search activity, and guess what? If you teach, you probably can....The WIFI was out!

Today was a classic Monday. A classic off-day, and I'm glad it's over.

I could do something else. I loved being a barista, and I had benefits and zero stress. I never took work home. (Of course, I didn't get the summers off :)).

So why do we do it?

Well, I needed a reminder today, and I got one. A former student of mine, who was in the class that usurped my planning block, left me messages on the mini whiteboards that I keep at all the tables.

Thanks, Former Student! I didn't think I looked like Velma from Scooby Doo, but I'll take it!

This is why we teach--the students! Oh, yeah! I really needed that reminder today....

Below find two tools to make your teaching-life (and hopefully your Mondays) easier:

Stuck with busy work and no time to plan? Here's an easy vocabulary go-to from me:

Get it Here!

And here's a fantastic freebie just in time for Valentine's Day from Tools for Teachers by Laura J:

Get it Here!

Enjoy the rest of your week, be productive, and take it easy when you can!

See you next Monday--hopefully it's a better one!