8.02.2014

Back to School Sale: Secondary Teachers Blast From the Past Yearbook

Back to School Sale: Secondary Teachers Yearbook Blast from the Past!


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  Oh, remember the days of middle and high school? How much simpler life was back then? Join your fellow secondary teachers for a blast-from-the-past celebration as TeachersPayTeachers kicks of its Back-to-School sale early this year!

  Life can be simpler for you using resources made by teachers.  The TeachersPayTeachers back-to-school sale is August 4th and 5th (yes, this coming week!). Use the code BTS14 at checkout to get the best savings.

  Stock up on tons of back-to-school/beginning of the year resourcesclassroom decor, Common Core-aligned lessons, activitieslesson planning, and so much more.

Special thanks to Danielle Knight who compiled all the secondary teacher's pictures and made the *totally awesome* photo above. Comment below with your graduation year (if you dare!) and attach a link to your favorite photo from school (optional...but it's so fun to see all the old pics!).

Here's mine (well, probably not my favorite, but it's my senior picture):

Mrs. Orman's Classroom: Back to School Yearbook!

It took me hours to crimp, curl, and tease that hair. I hope big hair is never back in style... 

You'll find everything you need for a successful school year in these secondary stores:

7.19.2014

Interactive Notebook Examples and Templates

Interactive Notebook Activities for Secondary Students

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When I first heard someone mention interactive notebooks, I thought they meant "interactive" as in digital interaction between peers.

But I was completely wrong. "Interactive," as in "interactive notebook," refers to a student's collection of notes and graphics. They are personal tools for students to process ideas and concepts. The "interaction" part is the student interacting with the notes (rather than with other students). The more students interact with the information (have multiple senses connected with it), the more they can retain knowledge.

This makes sense to me because even though I love technology and would never want my students to be without access to their laptops, I still firmly believe writing with a pencil and reading a physical paper book helps my students remember and connect more deeply with the text.

With that in mind, I've been busy finding ways to incorporate more hands-on projects with my secondary students. (I've noticed that much of what is on the market for interactive notebooks is elementary-targeted.) I created these tabbed mini-books to use with both fiction and nonfiction text:

Interactive notebook activities on www.traceeorman.com

The books (Theme, Plot, Story Elements, Vocabulary, and Figurative Language Analysis) practice the following literature standards for grades 6-12: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.3CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5, and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.6.  They also cover these reading informational standards and language standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.1CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.4, and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.5CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.4, and CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.L.5.

These are handy for using with individual stories and novels. Students can easily refer back to them later and compare two texts with one another. They are perfect for using as a source when writing a literary analysis paper or compare/contrast paper.

Interactive notebook activities on www.traceeorman.com

The wording/language used is targeted toward secondary students.

Interactive notebook activities on www.traceeorman.com
Plus, they are easy to put together: no glue is needed. Students can just assemble the pages and staple them. They can be affixed inside an existing notebook or not. 

Interactive notebook activities on www.traceeorman.com
Teachers can add as many or as few pages to the books. (This can be helpful for the plot analysis events and the vocabulary analysis book, both shown above.)

I also created a bundle of literature resources to cover all of the 6-12 Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for reading. Even if your state does not use the CCSS, you can still utilize these resources. The skills practiced still involve essential reading and critical-thinking skills. I separated the foldables by standards, but they are not labeled on the templates themselves.
Interactive notebook activities on www.traceeorman.com

It includes over 90 different activities, which are scaffolded for introducing skills and differentiated for progressing into more advanced skills.

Interactive notebook activities on www.traceeorman.com
One of the more difficult activities for my students over the past few years has been analyzing an event to see how it provokes a decision, propels the action, and reveals aspects of a character. I'm not sure why they struggle so much with this skill (reading standard 3), but breaking down single events and dialogue will help. The foldable above has students write each response on a clock face, then stack on top of each other and staple for a complete analysis of an event (below).
Interactive notebook activities on www.traceeorman.com

Another higher-level skill practiced is comparing/contrasting two different works and analyze how the two authors approach the material both differently and similarly. (Reading standard 9)
Interactive notebook activities on www.traceeorman.com

Secondary students may also appreciate graphics they can relate to.
Interactive notebook activities on www.traceeorman.com

Interactive notebook: comparing the book to its movie on www.traceeorman.com

Interactive notebook activity: analyzing how themes build upon and interact with one another

Interactive notebook: text message activity on www.traceeorman.com

A secondary interactive bundle would not be complete without the Bard, right!?
Interactive notebook: rewriting Shakespeare on www.traceeorman.com

If you download the preview to my package, you'll get two free templates from the bundle

I'd love your feedback!
Comment below with your experience using interactive notebooks in your classroom. 
• What kind of notebooks do you use (spiral vs. composition)? 
• How often do you use them with your students? 
• Do you have any tips for teachers starting out?

Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

5.08.2014

Using Bell Ringers and Exit Slips for Quick Assessments

Bell Ringers & Exit Slips for Quick Assessments (www.traceeorman.com)

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Implementing the Common Core State Standards does not have to be a difficult chore for teachers. There are many ways you can quickly assess student learning and measure their levels of understanding.

While teachers will see a push for more writing, the samples need not be lengthy essays. Quick writes—a paragraph summary or a few sentences that show evidence from a tex—count as a writing activity. This is where bell ringers and exit slips can come in handy. The smaller size is less intimidating for students, yet they still practice essential skills.

I've included some examples of how I use quick writes in the form of bell ringers (given at the beginning of class) and exit slips (due at the end of class) to gauge student learning. These are from my two Common Core Bell Ringers  & Exit Slips bundles: Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Implement the Common Core with Bell Ringers and Exit Slips
You should NEVER sacrifice creative thought; it should still be encouraged alongside other skills.

Both bundles have received rave reviews by teachers and students alike. One unique feature I include: the Common Core Standard on every single slip, so you (and your students) know exactly which skills you are practicing or assessing.

Using bell ringers and exit slips in class for quick writes.

Use prompts that practice the Core standards, yet still encourage creative thought. Your students will be more engaged and will put more thought and effort into the activity. The activity above practices the third reading standard, which asks students to analyze the characters actions over time. By asking students to eliminate a character, they must think both critically and creatively to understand how that character impacted the plot and other characters.

Using bell ringers and exit slips in class for quick writes.
Above, students are asked to relate a famous quote with the text. By forcing them to make those connections, they have to synthesize the information they've read.

Using bell ringers and exit slips in class for quick writes.

Another quick assessment is my "What's Hot? What's Not?" activity. Students must select parts from the text that display both positive and negative aspects or connotations. 

If you find yourself stressing about implementing the Core standards, DON'T! I have over 200 different activities to practice every single reading standard for both literature and nonfiction that can be implemented immediately. (See Volume 1 and Volume 2.) 

I've been using the activities in my classroom for several years with great success. Feel free to comment or ask a question below. Thanks for stopping by!

4.21.2014

10 Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday

10 Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday - www.traceeorman.com

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April 23rd will mark Shakespeare's 450th birthday. Here are 10 different ways you can celebrate the Bard's special day in your classroom (or on your own):

Shakespeare word cloud (from: 10 Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday)1. READ A SONNET: Have each student read one of Shakespeare's sonnets aloud. With 154 to choose from, surely your students will find one 14-liner they like to recite. (Use this as a Common Core speaking/listening activity.) This also counts as a great activity for celebrating National Poetry Month! (Don't forget that Poem in Your Pocket Day is Thursday, April 24th. Perhaps students will like one of the sonnets they hear that they will choose to carry a copy of it with them.)

2. CREATE A SONNET WORD CLOUD: Have your students decorate the room with sonnet word clouds using Shakespeare's poems and either www.Wordle.net or www.Tagxedo.com. (They can even choose a Shakespeare bust or a related shape on Tagxedo.)


Shakespeare's Sonnet #18 (from: 10 Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday)Shakespeare's Sonnet #98 (from: 10 Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday)


3. PLAY SHAKESPEARE WORD GAMES: The Folger Shakespeare Library website offers activities for kids, such as these word games. Students can also try to figure out what these weird words mean. (Give your students the word and have them come up with different definitions. Have the class vote on their favorite definition, then reveal the real one and see how close/far-off they are.)
Shakespeare cake (from 10 ways to celebrate Shakespeare's birthday)
4. LET THEM EAT CAKE: Have a real birthday bash for Shakespeare, complete with cake!

5. COMPETE TO FIND THE MOST FACTS ABOUT SHAKESPEARE: This activity can be done either with books (reference books such as encyclopedias or other nonfiction volumes found in your library) or done online (or use a combination of both). See which class can come up with the MOST facts about the Bard in a limited amount of time. Each class can designate several secretaries to write the information down and several "fact-finders." If computer or book access is limited, you can divide the class into small groups and have them work in shifts. After students have found facts, discuss their favorite ones (or ones they find the most unusual).

6. AMAZING RACE SHAKESPEARE: Along the same lines as the fact-finding competition in #5, but different because students will be looking for specific answers to questions, in the style of the popular TV reality show "The Amazing Race." You can come up with the questions yourself, or use this pre-made activity already done for you (with answer key).
The Globe Theatre from Paper-Toys.com (from 10 Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday)
7. RECREATE THE GLOBE THEATRE: Using this free online printable, have your students recreate a three-dimensional miniature replica of The Globe theatre (from www.Paper-Toys.com). If this task is a little too difficult, have them create their own little mini-Shakespeare from www.Toy-a-Day.blogspot.com.

8. "WHO AM I?" SHAKESPEARE CHARACTER QUIZ: Challenge your students with these "Who Am I?" clues on the Folger Shakespeare Library website. Then have your students create their own clues for a "Who Am I?" game. They can use characters from plays already studied, or mix in some characters from other works of literature from the entire year. It'll be a great review of all the books and stories your students have read this past school year.

9. PLAY AN ONLINE PUZZLE OR GAME: If you have access to the internet, play an online game (some can be printed if there is no access to the internet). Using the www.shakespeareinamericanlife.org website, students can color pictures, solve jigsaw and crossword puzzles, word searches, and complete mazes.

Shakespeare puzzles and games from www.shakespeareinamericanlife.org

10. FAVORITE QUOTE PARTY: Have students select their favorite Shakespearean quotes (can be from the plays, his poems, or anything related to Shakespeare). Then have them create a mini-poster of the quote (being as decorative as they'd like). As a writing component, have students write a paragraph explaining why they chose that particular quote. They can attach the explanation on the back of their mini-quote poster.
"There are no tricks in plain and simple faith" Shakespeare quote (from 10 Ways to Celebrate Shakespeare's Birthday)  Hang the quotes around the room and have students roam from quote to quote, jotting down those that they may not have selected, but also like. As a variation (or to add a speaking/listening activity), have students tell the class their favorite quote and why they like it or why it means something to them.

BONUS! yes...here's one more for a bonus 11th activity:

11. SHAKESPEARE'S LEGACY PROMPT: Would Shakespeare be surprised that—450 years later—his work is being studied, performed, and celebrated by people worldwide? Have students write a narrative piece about what their own legacy may be 450 years from now. They can tie in bits and pieces of Shakespeare for comparison's sake. They can speculate whether they think Shakespeare really wanted all his work published and read, or was some of it very private to him? Would students be surprised if some of their private work (journal/diary entries, poems) was studied by others?
  Students can also speculate whether they think documented words such as Twitter "tweets" or Facebook statuses will be considered narrative nonfiction in the future (or are they already?). Would they be horrified or pleased to know people hundreds of years in the future would be reading and studying them? Why?

If you wish to have these activities in printable form, you can find it here:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Shakespeare-Activities-Free-Download-1216646

Shakespeare Activities FREE Download http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Shakespeare-Activities-Free-Download-1216646

The free download includes these great printable pages to use with some of the activities:

My Favorite Shakespeare Quotes FREE Download http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Shakespeare-Activities-Free-Download-1216646

Weird Words Shakespeare Activity FREE Download http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Shakespeare-Activities-Free-Download-1216646Who Am I? Shakespeare Activity FREE Download http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Shakespeare-Activities-Free-Download-1216646



I hope you have a great Shakespeare Birthday celebration!

4.06.2014

Top 5 Reasons Why I Never Complete My To-Do Spring Break List

Top 5 Reasons I Never Complete My Spring Break To-Do List  from www.traceeorman.com

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Today is my last day of spring break. And while I SHOULD be frantically tackling my to-do list, I am here blogging about why I never complete it. Hmmm.

REASONS I NEVER GET AS MUCH DONE OVER SPRING BREAK AS I'D LIKE:

1. My to-do list is way too long. This year my list included: catch up on grading, organize my classroom, create new TpT products (too many to list), upload already completed TpT products (but make preview files for them), revise old units, read lots of books, go to baseball games, take lots of pictures at the games, organize & edit pictures, upload pics to Facebook & Flickr, plan out final days of school for seniors & sophomores, watch Frozen, watch 12 Years a Slave, go back to see my parents, and the list goes on... I think I accomplished five things (and they involve movies, baseball games, and pictures).


Movies I watched: 
I could not pick more opposite movies to watch, but both were very good. "Twelve Years a Slave" made me cry and "Frozen" made me laugh. 

12 years a slave

Yet both made me think: what is it inside humans that makes us do evil things? Greed? Selfishness? Lust for power? Funny how both movies touch on the same theme, albeit in much different ways.

Frozen



2. Some of the things on my list really suck. If I could just list non-productive things (like watching movies and hanging out with family) on my list, I really wouldn't need a list. But I don't want to spend spring break doing sucky things like organizing my classroom. (Or any room, for that matter.) And grading papers is a chore no matter when I have to do it. Over break, I always think I'll have more time "tomorrow" to do these sucky things. Well, guess what I'll be doing TODAY when I finish this blog post!? (If you guessed pinning on Pinterest while procrastinating grading until about 9 p.m., you are probably right on the money.)


Spring break...aaaannnd it's gone. (from www.traceeorman.com)

3. Break is never long enough. Seriously. It should be at least two weeks. And I know many districts are lucky to get one day. (I feel for you all!) We need at least an extra week to recharge our batteries after spending the first week trying to accomplish our to-do lists.


Pin ALL the things!  (from www.traceeorman.com)
4. Pinterest. There. I said it. I have a problem and it involves wasting spending numerous hours pinning funny memes, teaching resources, books, and things that make you say "What the freak?" (or something like that).

But isn't this idea genius to catch the drip from your sports cooler (or jumbo thermos...what are these things called?)? It comes courtesy of our chemistry teacher, who took a 2 liter bottle and cut it to hang right over the spout to catch the dripping liquid and protect the floor. (And using a clear one will not only match/blend in, but it looks so much better than just putting a wad of paper towels or napkins on the floor under it.)
When I saw these set up in our teacher's lounge, I immediately thought of taking a picture and pinning it. Does that mean I have a problem??? ;)


5. I procrastinate. Yes, my name is Tracee and I'm a procrastinator. Why do I wait until the last minute for so many things? I don't know. I just do. In my defense, though, we did get our taxes done and it's not even April 15th yet. That has to count for something, right? ;)

Perhaps next year I'll create a more realistic spring break to-do list. If so, I think I could complete it with time to spare. For naps. Or more pinning. 


I could probably complete this list. (from Top 5 Reasons I Never Complete My To-Do Lists)


WHAT I DID ACCOMPLISH :)
I did complete a few TpT-related things. If you purchased my DIVERGENT unit, MOCKINGJAY unit, POETRY RESOURCES, VOL. 1 bundle, ARGUMENT WRITING bundle, and other smaller items, check your "My Purchases" page on TpT to re-download the revised products. I've updated many files over break.

I've also added the following new products:


Poetry Book Assignment & Rubrics (www.traceeorman.com)

Poetry Book Assignment - includes the requirements/criteria, checklist of types of poems/forms & figurative language/poetic devices, rubrics for grading, and sample poems/books from students. 
All in editable PDF format.

Divergent Poetry Activities (www.traceeorman.com)

Divergent Poetry Activities - Numerous exercises to practice writing, reading, and analyzing poetry. Even if you don't teach this unit, you can use these activities to connect with students in your class who have read it.


 For my clip art friends/followers:
Doodle Borders Clip Art for Commercial Use
Doodle Borders:
Swirly Dots (26 .png files)
Small Circles (28 .png files)
Small Boxes (20 .png files)
Basket Weave (26 .png files)


The highlight of my break? 
Watching my son play high school baseball! With the cruddy weather, this week was the first time they could get outside and actually play. 

KO - EP Baseball 2014 (photo by T.Orman www.traceeorman.com)K.O.  EP Baseball (photo: T.Orman www.traceeorman.com)


I hope you had (or will have) a very relaxing and productive (if that's what you want) spring break. If not...we're not too far from summer break, right!?