Sunday, May 25, 2014

10 Things To Do This Summer Linky!

        Summer is always an interesting time of year for teachers. While many of us look forward to this time to recharge our batteries, majority of us are still working in some way, shape, or form. This summer will be no difference from any of the other summers since I have started teaching. Meaning I will be completely lazy until August 1st and then freak out and work 12 hour days until the 1st day of school :-p. This list is what I would *like* to do, let's see if it actually happens! Hop over to Mrs. Jump's Class and join up.

1. SLEEP!! I think this is self-explanatory. I am starting grad school in the fall and taking over two contents AND taking over Student Government. I am going to be a zombie next year.

2. Read some US History Books. I will be teaching US History for the first time and I definitely need to up my knowledge base. I haven't taken a US History class in 7 years! While I am sure my knowledge of US History is better than most Americans, I am a perfectionist and I want to be the best. I have already bought the book, 1776, and I am fascinated. I have about 12 other books on my list that I want to read this summer as well. I won't bore you all with it :-p

3. Work out. I have fallen off the wagon, as many of us have. I have gained 20 pounds since my Grandmother passed away almost 2 years ago and I need to lose that this summer. No reason why I shouldn't be able to lose the 20 pounds in 2 months. Cardio and light weightlifting and clean eating!

4. Spend more time with the boyfriend and fur baby. Sophie and the bf have been complaining about the fact that I don't spend enough time with them and I need to fix that. I have to work on my work-fun balance. I tend to be a workaholic (who isn't anymore?) and it is just not healthy-mentally, emotionally or physically.

5. Experiment with interesting recipes. Summer is the time I tend to experience more "out-there" recipes, like Big Mac Burger (hamburger topped with macaroni and cheese and bacon). Skinny Taste is one of my favorite websites to check for interesting websites.

6. Improve my Italian. I use Duolingo to work on my conversational Italian. I took 2 years in high school and 2 years in college and I remember almost nothing other than the basics. If I can dedicate about a hour each day to Duolingo over the summer, I should be back to speaking almost fluently by September!

7. Update my clothing. I will be 27 in July and a lot of my clothing for work is....showing it's age. I want to get about 12 basics before school starts that I can wear to work and then transition to school in the evenings. So comfort and class! Dresses are quickly becoming one of my favorites but I do like wearing pants in the winter. Covers the legs on my walks to work!

8. Eat breakfast on the balcony on our new IKEA patio furniture twice a week. Weird thing, I know. But I absolutely love this patio furniture. The chairs are super sturdy and don't wobble at all. We have a cute lantern to light up at night if we want to enjoy a late dinner.

9. Tour the Capitol. I will have lived in DC for 3 years in two weeks and I have never toured the Capitol building. Especially if I am going to teach US History, I have to at least toured one of the most important buildings in the free world!

10. Start planning 2 hours a day starting July 1st. Teaching two content areas and at least 2 preps means I need to be super organized. I want to start planning my units and summative assessments first and then move towards daily lessons as the month moves on.

Tell me what you think? Link up and share your 10 things you want to do!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Erin Condren Teacher Planner Review

            Even though this year is (slowly) winding down, I have begun to look towards 2014-2015 School Year. I will be teaching United State History and some grade level of English (probably 9th grade). I will also be starting graduate school at American University (Political Science) so I have to be doubly on my game next year. I have read a few posts about Erin Condren and her amazingly addictive website and supplies. At 60 bucks I was a little unsure about how great this planner was going to be. Well I got it today! And can I say how impressed I am already!? First it comes in an adorable patterned box and wrapped in purple paper (no photo, sorry!). I received tons of cute stickers, for free!!, with my name on them and two coupons for future purchases. I spent at least 30 minutes customizing the planner and I am so pleased with how it has came out. Check it out below:

Front of the Planner. That ruler is removable and can be used as a bookmark.
This section has room for your name, room number, sections taught, usernames and passwords, etc.
Absentee Log, I have about 5 pages of this! 
Year-at-a-glance, nice to have a full spread so you can really see everything.
Every Month has a huge calendar and then two notes pages. The weekly planning pages are after the 12 months and checklists.

OMG these checklist pages!!!! I love them!!! I use something like this in my classroom as a back-up for my online grade book. Having it in one spot is wonderful and so much easier than lugging around a huge laptop, folders and a planner.
Stickers! These come with the planner and there are two sheets of blank ones. You can also make your own, which I did for my grad classes.
The weekly planning sheet. It is so pretty and crisp. I am a little concerned about the room for writing, however.
Two-sided folder in the back to hold onto those pesky papers.
Pocket for pens/paper clips and the back cover with the calender, which is very handy!

Bonus pic!!
My little Sophie, who is 10 months this month!

So how many people have ordered a planner from Erin Condren before? What are your thoughts? Leave a comment below!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Killer Angels Facebook Project

         I have just started teaching the novel Killer Angels by Michael Shaara this past week with my 9th grade students and I am super excited. As everyone knows, my undergrad major was History and I am a huge history nerd. While the American Civil War is not my forte, I am still excited to be able to teaching a novel that has to do with history. The foreword of the novel tends to be a bit dry so I think the easiest way to "liven" it up a bit was to incorporate some social media aspects since we all know that our students looooooove social media! I searched high and low for a "Facebook project" but I ended up utilizing my resources (my students) and had them create their own graphic organizer and template for their pages. The students then presented their pages while the rest of the class took notes on the character so they could tell which soldier was which and which side they fought on. Overall I think this project went quite well. I was not asking the students to do anything "too rigorous", just asking them to read the foreword and do some research on their chosen character. I have attached a wonderful example below:

How many of you have asked your students to do an assignment or project that incorporates some form of social media?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

I am a horrible, horrible blogger...and May Currently!

I have no idea if anyone is even still following my blog, but I am back. I have no real excuse for why I have not updated since September. Life happened. I had emergency surgery (appendix) at the end of January and was sidelined for 3 weeks. DC-CAS and college applications completely took over my life from November to April. I am starting American University in the fall, Masters of Arts in Political Science! I have turned all of my Fellowship paperwork and should be receiving a payout any day now. I will be teaching either 2 classes or a full load of Social Studies next year (YES!!). I am so excited to move back into the Social Studies realm again. I have missed teaching History. Before my surgery I was at odds with OSSE, Office of the State Superintendent of Education, about my teaching license. My undergraduate degree is in History and they were all up in arms about my teaching English. I took and passed the English Praxis Exam in 2010, with flying colors I might add. After a few weeks and scathing emails, I finally received my English AND Social Studies teaching licenses in the mail. In the upcoming weeks I will be posting about the American History curriculum and general classroom management strategies that I want to incorporate into my classroom for next year. As soon as I get this last damned observation done, I am going to release the students for longer periods of SSR and more time for me to plan during the day. My plan for this summer is all curriculum, since I will barely have any time during the school year. I have been stalking Erin Cordren's website and customized a teaching planner that I am going to purchase next week. I figure the earlier I get started, the more time I will have this summer to catch up on some zzz's. Is anyone else just feeling to-the-bone weary? No matter how much I sleep right now, I seem to still be exhausted by 3 pm.

Anyways, as always, hook up with Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade!