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The Teaching Interview

Tis the season for new graduates to begin interviewing for those few teaching positions open for the coming school year.  It's a tough position to be in, knowing that there is so much competition, yet also feeling like you want to find that perfect place where you can be the best teacher in the world!  Still, you need to apply, and you need to interview... Everywhere.


My first piece of advice for new graduates (and those still in the interview pool) is to interview everywhere you get the opportunity.  It's not just for the position, but it's for the experience of the interview.  Having set in on many interviews in my teaching career, I can tell you that so many come into the meeting filled with nerves and jitters, often so much so that they are unable to carry on an effective session.  Their nerves will not allow them to focus, or to think clearly, and the interview is a bust.

While nervousness is just part of the process, there are ways to be more prepared for the interview.  The first step toward that preparedness is building confidence.  Know your stuff!  This includes everything about YOU that you want to share, everything about your content area, and everything about the school at which you will be interviewing.  In the most effective (and impressive) interviews, the candidate asks more questions than those conducting the interview.  It shows that you have put in the time and effort to the school already and that you are genuinely interested in their students and their success.

Another related tip is simple - practice.  Interview with your parents, your spouse, your children, your dog... even your mirror.  Just talk.  Get used to bragging about your greatest talents and your awesome accomplishments.  Practice speaking clearly and with developed vocabulary.  Rehearse coming alive in your interview - after all, all life is a stage!

Next is the interview itself.  Here are my quick tips:
  1. Dress appropriately!  This is not date night, nor a party with friends.  Wear a suit or professional outfit that shows your ability to be the adult in the classroom.  And if you are applying for a secondary position, you MUST be able to distinguish yourself from the students.  Do not dress like them in the interview (or ever!).
  2. Be outgoing!  Reach your hand out for firm handshakes at the very onset of the interview, and do not stop from there.  Use your hands, use your voice, and perform.  Elaborate on your ideas, and do not be afraid to show what you will be like in the classroom.  If you will teach with voices, use those voices.  If you will dance and sing, dance and sing!  After all, if you can engage a group of old teachers (your interview committee), you should be able to engage a classroom of kids!
  3. Be sincere!  Tell them what you know, but also what you still have to learn.  As a new teacher, you DO NOT know it all.  Your latest and greatest methods may not yet be proven, and your know-it-all attitude may be to intimidating for the committee to endure.  More importantly, being sincere about your faults, meanwhile showing your dedication to improvement is something every administrator will appreciate.
  4. Show your knowledge!  Teach in your interview.  While it is understood that you will not know your content at 100% (none of us do), you should have a firm grasp on the basics.  Introduce your favorite content topics and show your passion for your subject area.
  5. Sell yourself!  To be an effective teacher, you must know how to market effectively.  You will be selling yourself, your ideas, your content, and your methods for the rest of your career.  You must sell all of this to your students, your co-workers, your administrators, and now the state and federal governments!  And selling is simple - know your product (you, your content, your methods) and show, show show! 
  6. Be thankful!  Appreciate the time and energy the committee has given on your behalf.  Tell them you appreciate the opportunity and that you welcome their thoughts and feedback.  Laugh, and share your apprehension, but also your excitement about the chance that you may be able to work in their school, with their students, and with them!
  7. Follow up!  While some may consider it old fashioned, I can promise you that the after-interview follow up can be crucial.  Many interview committees find themselves locked between 2-3 candidates after the interview.  A simple thank-you card, or even an email, can show them you are waiting for that call, and that you are the one they want as part of the team.
One last piece of advice I will offer is to go into the interview ready for battle!  Take in your interview packets, and have a professional teaching portfolio in hand to reference throughout the interview.  Click here for a FREE Teaching Portfolio Checklist.  Having an online portfolio is an added bonus!  This not only provides you with the goodies you need to pull out of your hat in the interview, it gives you something to clasp and squeeze when the nerves attack!

Good luck to all!


Silence for Sandy Hook Elementary


Finding Resources Online - A Secondary Blog Hop!

It is often difficult to find just the right lesson for the Secondary classroom.  Many of us are set in our own ways, and it makes it hard for us to accept second rate lessons or to fall back on age-old textbook resources for those lessons we just can't take the time to create for ourselves.  Thank goodness for TeachersPayTeachers.  Through this online marketplace, teachers can now find quality lessons they can feel confident about using in their classroom with their students!


This week we Secondary teachers are holding a Blog Hop to help you meet some of the teachers who are working hard to develop quality lessons on TpT.  Start at any point on the Hop, and find your way through the Secondary World!  Bookmark the blogs you enjoy, and be sure to visit them again for great advice, new ideas, and of course, awesome resources!  And, of course, make sure to leave comments and follow the blogs to be entered to win our great prizes!

About me:  My blog is all about teachers!  It is based on the ideas presented in my book, A Lesson Plan for Teachers, and I attack topics I feel need to be addressed for new or struggling teachers in all grade levels.  In addition, I am constantly posting new items, free and priced, to help teachers stock up their classrooms with the most up-to-date and exciting lessons they can find for the ELA and Social Studies classroom!

In my TpT Store, you will find everything from resources to help you get started as a teacher to ELA materials for the secondary grades to a whole treasure trove of Social Studies lessons and activities! 

Choose from my latest and greatest Freebies!

A Walking Tour for the Winter Holidays - allow your students to travel around the world to investigate how other countries celebrate the season!

The Twelve Days of Christmas Acts of Kindness Contracts - teach about giving this holiday season and allow your students to brainstorm how they can make the season brighter this year!

The New Teacher Application Packet - getting that first interview can be the greatest challenge.  Use these templates and pieces of advice to make sure you stand out in the hiring process!

A "Front & Back Assignment" on the Northern Renaissance - tired of juggling the students who miss your great interactive lessons?  My "Front & Back" assignments supplement for those who miss the Walking Tour Centers Activity and will allow you to stay on track!

Canada Scavenger Hunt Game - playing to learn is the oldest trick in the book for teachers, but it works!  Allow your students to play their way to learning about or reviewing the Human Geography of Canada!

And, not a Freebie, but a MUST for every classroom:

The Human Game Board Kit - turn your classroom into a human game board to review any content.  Allow students to create the questions or use the test bank questions to make sure students know the knowledge you want them to know for the upcoming test or for the entire year!  A number of these game sets are available in different colors and themes in my store!

And take a look around MY TpT STORE for other great resources!  You never know what you may find that can turn your classroom into an interactive world of learning every day!

Want to win a Human Game Board Kit?  Leave a comment on this blog, and be sure to hop to each of the others to leave your comments there to enter!

And now - Hop on over to the next blog for great Science resources:  Sciene Teacher Resources.

Michele

Applying for that Perfect Teaching Job

It's now time for the teacher graduates to begin their job hunt!  There are few jobs out there in some areas of the teaching world these days, especially in certain regions, specific grade levels or content areas, but it can be done!


Do not get discouraged, and remember this key piece of advice:  It's all about getting into the building.  My husband was a December graduate, and his first position was as a full time sub, landing him into the building that he would teach at the majority of his career.  His hiring philosophy was simple - If they will hire him, he will do it!  And they did!

Keep in mind, though, that getting the job requires your being interviewed.  You must be seen by the administrators in the building, and they must know your interest.  Get out there!  Go to the schools where you can see yourself being successful, and walk in the principal's office.  Be confident, and be enthusiastic.  It is not about "knowing someone" all of the time.  You can also get to know them and have just as much success!

While first impressions and your public speaking ability can provide immense information about you and your ability to teach, you must provide them something to HOLD.  Think about it - When you go to the car lot to look at those shiny new cars, what does the salesman insist you do?  Hold the keys.  If you hold those keys, there is a chance you will feel like it is yours and they you must take it home.  In the case of the principal - they must hold a piece of you so they can feel the need to bring you into their school family.

So, what do you leave for or with the administrator?  I have you all set up!  Download my FREE Application, Resume, and Interview Packet Templates to help you prepare.  Follow my tips and advice, and land that interview!  Then, it's all on you!  Be confident!  Show them who you are and all you can offer.  In no time, you will be responsible for all those little ones under your feet!  Or, in my case, all those big ones staring you in the face!

Good luck!

New Graduates

It is that time of year when a whole new group of excited teachers step out into the world of public education.  Where will they find job openings?  How will they prepare for the interviews?  What will they show to represent themselves as a teacher?  What will they do if they DO get the job?!


In coming blogs, I will go back to my original focus and begin to advise those new teachers - the ones just starting out in this awesome profession!  I'm in the process of creating Application Packets you can download and adapt for your own portfolio, teaching philosophy guides, and so much more that will help you navigate the competitive education world.

In the meantime, I want you to start preparing on your own.  Start compiling your own Brag List.  It is almost guaranteed that you will be asked 'your greatest strengths and your greatest weaknesses.'  I HATED this part of the interview, but it is still the #1 question asked by interview committees.

Oddly, my weaknesses come easy to me, so I would be tempted to elaborate on them, while my modest nature (I've gotten over this!) would limit my strengths.  GET OVER IT!  Start your brag list, and then begin to develop your responses with student-centered stories.   My greatest strength is my ability to entertain.  MY response in an interview:

     "It's so important in the classroom today to get students engaged and to keep them engaged!  If you have their attention, you can open their minds to all the information you have to offer them, and you can also build the trust you need from them to help them learn to the best of their ability.  I entertain well!  I dance, I sing, I even dress in costume to keep my students with me in my classroom!  More importantly, I also encourage them to become entertainers as well.  Once they start living the lessons, the learning becomes second nature to them!  Oh, and my greatest weakness is trying to do too much at once.   I just have to be trying to save the world every day!"

See what I mean?!  It's a much better response than I have heard from MANY interviewees:

"I am organized, I plan very well, and I am great at classroom management.  My weaknesses are working with apathetic students, learning the new computer systems, and keeping up with paperwork." 

Blah, blah, blah.  Boring!

Make your interview stand out.  Make them remember you, and they will quickly realize that your students will remember you as well!  You will be the one they are looking for in their school!
And if you didn't catch my weakness in there, go back and read again - it is a GOOD thing!  And that positiveness is another aspect they will remember.  :)

To get a jump on things, I will leave you with one bit of wisdom.  And, as always, my first piece of advice is the same I offer to every group of new teachers: STAY OUT OF THE WORKROOM or TEACHER'S LOUNGE!   If you are currently a student teacher, or an aide waiting for that classroom position to open up, do not sit in the lounge with the soon-to-be retirees.  Times have changed since they started teaching, and their ideas on what is good in the academic world may be outdated.  More importantly, if you are drawn into the negative conversations, the administrators in the building will learn that about you immediately.  Just like on the playground, word travels fast from the lounge to the admin's office!

Oh, and if you need something to read to get you ready for your first years in the classroom, take a look at my book:  A Lesson Plan for Teachers, New and Old!  It is available at TeacherspayTeachers in print and download version.

Start getting ready!

Holiday Gift Book!

While we all know the greatest gift at Christmas is the gift of giving, receiving a gift as grand as this is still very exciting!  
Over 30 teachers have collaborated to bring your the 2013 Holiday Gift Book.  This FREEBIE is filled with exciting lessons, fun activities, and amazing resources to use in your classes as the Holiday Season approaches and all year long.  Each lesson was developed by a TpT Seller and contributed to the book for your use.  In return, we hope you will take the time to visit each seller's TpT Store to find other great resources to use the whole year through!

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!  :)

Michele

Cyber Sale on TpT!

It's time for the Cyber Sale!
 Use the Promo Code CMT12 at your checkout on November 26th and 27th on TeachersPayTeachers to save up to 28%!  My TpT Store will be 10% off ALL items and save even more with the all site promo code!  It's a great time to stock up on great resources to use throughout the year!

My Favorite Book!

I know that I am a high school teacher, and that my favorite books list should be well developed with titles from Dickens or Shakespeare or, at least, Poe and Hawthorne.  But, I am still a kid at heart, and forever my favorite book will always be Charlotte's Web.  I loved this book from the time I first put my sticky fingers on it, and I have often gone back and read it again and again as an adult.  Now with a grandbaby, I'm sure the book will resurface in my life many more times!

Now, I have to admit... that is not the only children's book on my tops list.  I know... "Grow Up, Michele!"  But the children's books have so many greater lessons in them than what is written for we developed readers! 

Think about it - The Lorax and Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss are filled with incredible life lessons!  And then as a female, who can resist the lessons of Judy Blume?  I don't think I would have made it through my preteen years without Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margaret as my guide.

So, as I am encouraging my high schoolers to read The Triangle about the Triangle Shirtwaist fire in the Progressive Era and Night about the Holocaust, I occasionally call out to them that we must have a "carpet time" for the classics of childhood.  And as they sit around me on the floor of my classroom to hear one of my favorites, I remind myself that... After all... the greatest life lessons are learned through the greatest children's authors!

Michele

Take a look at some of my book activities!  Fun for all ages!



The Lorax Service Learning Unit!







The Lorax Reading Guide and Graphic Organizer









The Lorax Centers Activity








Charlotte's Web Character Cards Matching Game!








Character Paper Dolls Review Activity!





And take a look at the Linky Party over at 1, 2, 3... Teach with Me!  Find more of your favorite Children's Books and great activities to go along with them.

Make-up!

Over the last five years, attendance for my school, my district, and my state has plummeted.  Students are simply not coming to school.  There are many reasons for this, but in the end, it leaves students lost and so far behind in my Social Studies class when they miss day after day.  To make matters worse, I am one of those "change the room around, set up the Center, transform the class into a Walking Tour" kind of teachers.  These elaborate lessons take up days of class time for students to complete, and those who are absent... Well, often times, they just miss out.

In the past, I have resorted to my mortal enemy to help those who miss the big events in my class.  Despite my hatred, and despise, I hand my lost students over to... the textbook.  It is always with regret that I reach over to the dusty pile of books and pull one out, searching for the appropriate pages, to hand to the student who has missed it all.  But what else could I do? 

Then it hit me...

I have many followers of my TpT Store that comment on how they love my "Walking Tours" and Centers activities.  But, they too, have struggled with how to work the "make-ups" for those who miss the lessons.  Still, it didn't click.  Then I had a fellow teacher tell me she loved my activities, but there are some topics she just needs a quick fix for with all of the required testing and other time her classes must spend off the normal schedule.  Ah, ha! 

At first, I thought I would call them "One Page Wonders."  A quick coverage of the key facts on specific topics in history.  Other teachers (and workbook publishers and textbook companies) call them handouts or worksheets.  I finally decided on (after being unable to get it down to "one page") "Front & Back" Reading Assignments!

Early Renaissance in Florence
Northern Renaissance
 So, when you have students that miss the big events, or your class time gets stolen for that important pep rally - here you go.  The quick review of the key topics!  Finally... but why didn't I think of this 15 years ago?!

Michele

Evaluation Time!

For many, this is the time of the school year where the administrators begin coming in to the classrooms to do the official evaluations on teachers.  Remembering back to my first year and my first evaluation, I now think, "What was I thinking?"  My lesson was a debate on the 2nd Amendment with a FRESHMAN class.  Did I mention they were freshmen?  Oh, wow!  My administrators comment at the end... "You were daring!"  Was that a compliment?  I'm still not sure!

Now that I have grown in my classroom and my tenure, and having worked with many new teachers through my mentoring programs, I feel confident in giving advice on those oh so important evaluation lessons!  My first piece of advice - Don't stress!

If you look back at your interview, you really did not get your job based on what you knew, or even based on what you provided on paper for the interview process.  You earned your teaching position because you showed confidence.  You were most likely the candidate that showed confidence in effectively managing a classroom, in planning and teaching the required standards and content, and in effectively working with students to help them build their own confidence.  That's what a good teacher does... they teach confidence!

So, as we discuss the evaluation process, think about it in the same manner.  Be confident.  Be ready.  Be excited!

In most states, your administrator is required to evaluate your teaching multiple times in the school year.  Be excited about this.  It is a good thing for administrators to be in the classroom, and you should be welcoming and inviting.  On that note, do not treat them like they are a foreigner.  Instead, include them as though they are a new student in the room.  Ask them the questions you are asking the students.  Expect them to complete the assignment as the students do!  Now only will this give the administrator a better understanding of how students feel in your classroom, but it will also show them you are confident in what you are doing there.  You are in charge of your domain!

Now, you should be meeting with your administrator to discuss you lessons before the evaluation and after to discuss the outcomes and impressions.  Do not fear these meetings.  Use them as you would a college course.  Go into it thinking, "What can I learn?"  And make sure your administrator knows you are still learning and will always be learning.  It's what will make you a better teacher!

Finally, teach!  Do what you do best.  Be prepared for the class.  Have detailed lesson plans.  Have a curriculum map that shows you know where you are going next.  Have already established a community in your classroom with good rapport and relationships.  And finally, hold high expectations - for your students and for yourself!

Don't be afraid of evaluations.  They help us to improve.  They help us to be the most effective teacher we can be in our classroom for our students.  And in the end - it is just one day in your classroom, a snapshot of your year.  If it is a bust, make things better.  In the long run, you will learn that teaching is not about being successful every day.  It's about coming back each day to try again!

Need some organizational tools and creative ideas for your evaluation?  Take a look at my TpT products to help you be the best in your classroom!

To establish and build rapport for a classroom community - Free Identity Bag Homework Assignment

To maintain effective classroom management - Free Behavior Contracts

To plan solid standards based lessons - Free Curriculum Map & Free Lesson & Unit Plan Template

To create a fun and differentiated classroom - Creating Game Boards & Human Game Board Pieces

To assess student progress and help students self-assess - End of Unit Student Study Survey

To assess your own impact in the classroom - End of Unit or Year Survey

And in the end, it doesn't hurt to have a bit of good luck!  I wish you much!

Michele

Fall Break!

It is so hard to believe that we have already been in school for 9 weeks, but it is true!  And, starting Monday, we are on our 1 week Fall Break!  Where will I be?  Of course... Disney World!


As I join my favorite friends for a week, I want to remind those of you in the classroom... Sometimes it is important that we are not all serious!  Sometimes it is important for us, as teachers, to just be kids!

 On that note... I'm going to suggest one of my favorite units ever - My Lorax Service Learning Unit.  I use it every year in every class.  It takes us out of the norm, and even at the high school level, it just lets us all be kids again.  And yes, of course, there are valuable lessons - Community Service, Peer Tutoring, and even Reading Skills!  So, if you must be stuck in the classroom while I am playing at Disney, make it fun!

Michele


A Giveaway!

All this week, you can visit the Creation Castle to enter for a super giveaway!  Click HERE to link over and join in on the fun!  I am offering 3 super FREEBIES!

Michele

Keep it fresh!

When I first started working with new teachers, I started thinking about a larger group that needed to be mentored as well - the experienced ones!  With that concern, I titled my first book, A Lesson Plan for Teachers, New and OLD!  I wanted to make a point there.  Even we old dogs can, and should, learn new tricks!
 I remember having, and have even worked with, some of those old teachers who never changed their ways in the classroom.  One of my colleagues even kept his classroom lessons filed in a cabinet according to the days of the school year on which he taught the lesson.  It did not matter what happened in the world, or what was happening in his classroom, on Day 86, he taught what came out of folder "Day 86."  I was disgusted by this, but I had no power in persuading him - he was my department chair!  Fourteen years later than when I started working with him, he is still teaching, and I'm sure he is still using those lesson folders he created in 1972.

So, I wrote my book.  And I still go from school to school to speak to the new teachers, and the old ones, stressing that as we enter our classrooms each year, and even each day, we need to make sure we keep things fresh.  We need to change things from year to year, and we must address what is happening in our world that may change our lessons.
For new teachers, what does this mean?  Plain and simple, it means you cannot create a lesson and use it year after year without review.  I'm not saying you have to reinvent the wheel every year, but make simple changes.  And most importantly, do not teach from a textbook with no relief from the mundane for your students.  Use variety - Centers, Response Groups, Games! 


There is so much you can try in your classroom each and every year to make and keep it fresh.  You just have to be aware of that need.  You just need to acknowledge that change is good.  Just imagine, if you don't update from time to time, you will turn into that old teacher we all know!

Michele

And here are some ideas for freshness in your classroom from my TpT Store:


Turn your classroom into a Human Game Board!  Quiz students as they progress through the room, avoiding the pitfalls to move back 3 spaces and searching for the squares that guide them to take an extra turn!



Allow your students to Create Board Games to assess their knowledge of the unit content.   And then, let them have a Game Day to play them!






Set up Walking Tours of your favorite time periods in history for students to travel through the classroom while learning the content!  Visit England through the Industrial Revolution or Travel through Florence at the Start of the Renaissance!





Set up an Archeological Dig Site in your classroom for students to "find" clues to events in history! 







Allow students to gather clues from a Sunkin Ship to learn about the Age of Exploration!






Just search my TpT Store for an assortment of other ideas!

September 11th, 2012

Eleven years ago... 


I was in my classroom teaching World History to a group of rowdy sophomores in a small town high school.  When the announcement came over the intercom to turn on our televisions, I thought it was another basketball story from our every story-making state university.  What had the coaches done this time?  A player?  But, oh, was I wrong.

The first thing we saw was the gash in the side of the tower.  In my mind, I was trying to count - how many floors?  How many people working per floor?  Oh, so early in the morning, maybe some people were not to work yet.  How many could be in there?

And then my students started asking questions.
What about the people on the higher levels?
Are they going to get the people out of there?
Who do you think would do this?
Are we safe?  Are we going to go to war?  Will they draft us?
Reality was setting in that this was  an American tragedy happening right before our eyes, and there would be consequences.  Those consequences, though, could not even be imagined at the time - we were too engrossed in the moments.

The second plane.  I stood, tears streaming down my face, my hand over my mouth, trying to choke back the knot in my throat, trying to appear strong and confident in front of my students.  But, what else could I do?  We watched it hit the tower and every student in the room made sounds that only fear and anxiety could create.  I will never forget that moment.

More students started coming into my room.  They had questions.  They were afraid.  They wanted explanations.  I tried, but I only teach history; I cannot explain something like this.  There is no explanation.

Another student comes into the room, surrounded by friends.
"His parents are there.  They are supposed to be visiting the Trade Center this morning.  What can we do? He can't get ahold of his mom or dad."

Holding this broken young man, I direct others to collect phone numbers.  We write the numbers of every family member on the board, and those of us with phones begin calling.  No connections.  Phone lines are crashing, just like the planes.  We keep trying.

People are jumping from the buildings.  The fires are burning and you can see people screaming from the towers, crying for help.

Word of other planes, an attack at the Pentagon...

Finally, one student reaches my young man's aunt and she has received a call from his parents.  They woke up late and had not made it to the Trade Center when the first plane hit.  They were safe, but watching the tragedy unfold as tourists in the chaos.

We all stayed stationary in the room that day.  I do not remember eating lunch, nor do I remember how we all managed to leave at the end of the day.  I do however, remember the longing I felt in my stomach the whole day, wanting my own daughter, who was just next door at the middle school, to come be right next to me where I could hold her and protect her.  At the end of the school day, I did just that, and I didn't want to let her go.

That day, we had no idea what would happen next.  Terror, war, discrimination, economic effects, societal changes, so much more...

And now we are so many years away.  Our students now were so young then; they do not see it the same way we do.  Some do not even seem to care.  Is this the way history has always unfolded? 

I will be teaching it as a history lesson in my classes beginning the day before the anniversary.  As students view the images and read the quotes and see the statistics, I hope they can understand.  I hope they will find empathy for the victims.  I hope they will realize the implications of that day, of those 4 planes, of the simple fact that hate can cause such destruction and loss of life.

Will you be teaching about 9/11 in your classes?  What will you share with your students about that day?  What impact do you hope for in your classroom?

Michele
My 9/11 Centers & Response Group Activity



Here is a great service learning project and assessment tool by Tracee Orman on 9/11 that would complement this activity well!
9/11 Service Project & Writing Prompt

Can They Read?

I just finished reading an inspiring blog about reading and the easy impact one can make for our young ones.  The question I am left with, as a high school teacher, is "What can I do now?"

Many of the students I teach struggle with reading.  Not only are they deficit in skills, but they have now grown to HATE reading and anything that involves reading.  Think about that... anything that involves reading.   That would include English, Social Studies, Science, Math, Humanities, and EVERYTHING else.  Reading is everywhere, and our students who struggle with reading now hate having to read in their courses.  So, what are our options?

From the first day that I stepped into a classroom, I realized that I would have to teach my different students in different ways.  I worked from that point on to design lessons that would engage all of my students.  To that end, I played music and sang to my students, provided comics for my students, read in circle time to my HIGH schoolers,  used pictures and other images in my lessons, allowed my students to listen to oral histories, and created my own curriculum to cater to the very different learners in all of my classes over the years.

Still, I am learning that this challenge becomes more and more difficult each year as more and more students come into my classroom with that incredible hate toward the staple skill of reading, and therefore, learning.  I NEED my kids to read. More importantly, I NEED them to have the desire to read so they can have the desire to learn.  By the time they reach high school, is it too late?  I hope not.  I hope that I can still make a difference for these kids.

So, this is what I pray:
Parents will step up to the realization that it is their responsibility to introduce the love of books to their children when they are young and that an appreciation of learning should come from the home and starts on Day One!

Preschools and Daycares will introduce reading programs and will STRESS reading and the love of books to the children under their care. 

Elementary teachers and others who interact with young children will encourage reading and the love of books.

Elementary administrators will stand firm in the expectation that all students under their watch will learn to read, and they will retain those students, enrolling them in special programs, until they learn to read on the level required for movement to the next grade.

District superintendents and Boards of Education will realize that schools are about teaching and learning, NOT making money.  Adjust class sizes and provide resources so that every student has a chance.

Politicians will stop treating education as something that can be legislated and will simply provide the resources to those who actually know what education should be - the teachers!

And for the rest of us - Read!  Set good examples that reading is something that everyone could and should LOVE.  Read what you like -  Read the news.  Read a magazine.  Read the sports statistics.  Read comic books.  Read romances.  Read mysteries.  Just read!

And in my high school classroom, I will do what I can.  I will read to my students.  I will read in front of my students.  I will tell my students about what I read.  I will share with my students how much I love to read.

What else can I do?

Michele

My Lessons to Engage the Non-Readers:
The Lorax Complete Service Learning UNIT - A Reading to Teach to Learn Activity
This activity is for any age group to encourage the LOVE of reading!  It is a service learning unit in which upper grade students work with younger groups to teach the love of reading using Dr. Seuss' The Lorax.  My high school students were absolutely inspiring in completing this unit!

A Walking Tour of Florence in the Renaissance - A Centers Investigation Activity
Civil Rights Movement in Pictures - A Spiral Questioning Activity
WWI Trench Warfare Simulation - An Interactive Exercise Activity
Daily Life as a Roman - An Interactive Centers Investigation Activity
Ancient India Archeological Dig Activity - An Investigation with Artifacts
To Tell the Truth Role Cards Game - A Review Game Activity

Folktales Story Boards Assignment - A Read and Create Activity






Centers, Centers, and More Centers




Centers, Centers, and More Centers!

School has started and you are determined to make your middle or high school classroom different than the rest.  What do you do?  Easy!  Transform your classroom from the desk and chair lecture monotony to an interactive walk through history or geography with Centers, archeological digs, response group lessons, or other fun, engaging activities.  

While elementary classrooms have utilized centers activities for years, it has been a foreign conception at the middle and high school levels.  Many classrooms still focus on the instruction gathered through the use of textbooks and lecture notes, while students grow more and more apathetic and disengaged by the minute.  Change that!

Some may argue that with all of the content secondary teachers are challenged with presenting in their curriculum, it is virtually impossible to create, set up, and assess centers activities without giving up your entire life.  This is a valid consideration, unless you choose to NOT reinvent the wheel.  Find already created centers activities, either from my TpT Store or from other curriculum based programs such as TCI.  These lessons will not only provide the content standards to your students, but they will make your classroom one that is fun and engaging. 

Your classroom will be one that is loved by all!

Try these great Centers or other Interactive Lessons from my TpT Store!









Back to School Sale!


It is time for the best sale of the season: 
The TeachersPayTeachers Back to School Sale!  
Be sure to fill up your carts and make your purchases this Sunday and Monday, August 12th & 13th for super 10% savings in my TpT Store!  
And don't forget to use the TpT Coupon Code (BTS12) for additional savings!  
Oh my, what all will you buy?!!!!

The bell...

Da plane, boss!  Da plane!  For those of you old enough to remember that expression, it well exemplifies how I feel at the beginning of each school year.  The guests are coming, and I need to be ready to make all their dreams come true!  Are you ready?
If you are anything like me, I need a checklist to make sure I have everything done for that magical first day.  And knowing that I will not sleep at all the night before, I must be of sound mind all of the days leading up to it to make sure things are the way I want them.  So, here is my checklist:
  1. Classroom is arranged in a manner conducive to learning (and for building a community in the early days of the year).
  2. My walls are bright and welcoming, with great examples of student work and select motivational posters scattered throughout.
  3. Learning expectations and classroom rules are posted and are clear for student understanding.
  4. The syllabi are printed and copied for each student, detailing my expectations, rules, and an outline of the year.  An explanation of my course is also provided, as well as a note to parents that must be signed and returned.
  5. Student examples of my first assignment are laid out for me to show as I assign the homework at the end of the first class period.  It won't kill them and it helps get them off on the right foot!
  6. A bottle of Lipton Green Tea is sitting on my desk with a few assorted snacks next to it.  I know myself, and from years of experience, I know that I will not take the time to eat lunch.  I'll be too busy working to make my classroom look perfect for the next group coming in, so I must have some nutrients on hand.  More importantly, knowing that I will talk way too much on the first day, that green tea may save my voice from class to class.
  7. And on the night before, knowing there is no sleep ahead, I grab my copy of my book.  It reminds me again and again why I go through all this stress every year.  It reminds me what my "job" is all about.  And most importantly, it reminds me why I love all of it - tomorrow the kids will come!  And no matter what age they are, they are your kids and will be your bright, shining stars for the coming year.
I hope you are prepared for your first day.  If not, I hope this checklist will get you there!

Have a great school year!

Michele

The Dollar Days Sale on TpT by The Lesson Cloud


Jump on over to the Lesson Cloud blog to link through the great LINKY PPARTY of $1 and $2 sale items from your favorite TpT sellers on July 29th & 30th!  It's almost time to go back to school, so it's the perfect time to stock up on great new lessons, student activities, resources and classroom materials. 
And, while you are there, make sure you sign up for the super $75 giveaway!
What could be better than a $75 shopping spree to start the school year?!

And, link to MY TpT Store to find numerous items on sale!  After all, it's Dollar Days!

Michele

It's Almost Time...


It's almost time to go back to school and we all need to get ready.  Every teacher needs a plan!  Start with this Curriculum Map.  It is designed with World History Course information, but is fully adaptable for any course.  Use this Unit Plan Template to plan and organize the openings, activities, and assessments for your classes.  Fully adaptable, and set up to remind you for all of the standards and content you must provide for your students, this template will get your year started off in the right way… With a plan!  And finally, for all new teachers, or for those who just need a fresh start, download A Lesson Plan for Teachers.  This 82 page guide will help you navigate the new year with ease!

Michele Luck

Directions to the Sale!


Teacher Consignment Sale in Lexington, KY

Are you a new teacher in Central Kentucky?  

Need great resources and classroom materials,  
but can't afford the high prices of Scholastic or School Service Supply?  

Lost your classroom supply funds this year and need to supply your classroom on your own budget?

Come to the Teacher Consignment Sale in Lexington, KY to find everything you need for this coming school year!

Great resources and classroom materials for all grade levels and all subject areas will be available.  Vendors will also be present to offer teachers the latest and greatest information for your successful classroom.  This is the event of the year for teachers across the region!

2012 Summer Teacher Consignment Sale
NorthEast Christian Church
990 Star Shoot Parkway 
In the Hamburg Shopping Area 
 
Sale hours!!
July 16th, 1pm - 8pm
July 17th, 9am - 4pm

Social Studies Classroom & Lesson Resources for SALE!









I told you this day would come!  I am packed up, I've moved out of my Social Studies classroom, and it is time for me to move on - without all of my great goodies...  This is good for you!

I will add items throughout the next few days.  I would prefer to sell them through my blog and through facebook, so please send your SS teaching friends to take a look.

Keep in mind that these are all hard good resources.  My things are coming straight from my classroom where I handled them with great love and great care!  You are getting incredible resources, and your students will be so excited with all the new toys.  :)

On a more business note...  I am listing the prices I would like for each item.  These will all need to be shipped from Western KY (42301).  I plan to use USPS Media Mail, which should reduce the shipping cost significantly, but some of these sets are darn heavy!  They are bundles I have put together that I think make the most sense, and I know will greatly benefit the teacher.  Still, some are almost 50 pounds, so the shipping will need to be considered.

Also, I plan to try to send invoices from Paypal.  I have never done this before, so please be patient with me if you decide to buy my stuff!  I will work as quickly as possible to pack, process, and ship!  I'm hopeful everyone who buys will have the materials to use in preparing for the new school year!

As you find what you would like, comment on the item or send me a message.  Please include your zip code so I can get the shipping costs and your email so I can send you back an invoice.  I will bundle things to make the shipping better for you; just let me know.

And... I'll keep adding things as I get them sorted and organized.

Happy Teaching!
Michele

































Much More to come...