12.29.2016

New Year Resolutions & Goals Activities

New Years Goals Activities


If you are looking for some activities to use with your students when you return to school, you're in the right place. My 2017 New Year Activities are appropriate for middle and high school students, though I've had some upper-elementary teachers tell me they love using them with their students, as well.

The bundle comes with eight activities, paper-saver options, and four interactive-notebook activities. The activities vary, but practice critical-thinking and writing skills. There's also an outlet for your creative students.

SET GOALS
Have your students set goals for the remainder of the school year (or the year in general) with these visual-appealing 2017 prompts. Students love to decorate them and they make great bulletin-board displays.
New Year Activities for Students

New Year Activities for Students

Examples of classroom displays from previous years:
New Year Activities for Students - Classroom Display
New Year Activities for Students - Classroom Displays

New Year Activities for Students - Classroom Display


New Year Activities for Students - Classroom Display

Tag me on social media (@MrsOrman on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest; Mrs. Orman's Classroom on Facebook) if you display your class goals!


MAKE LISTS
My Top 20/Bottom 17 Activity forces students to dig deep and analyze their actions that can be helpful or harmful in achieving their goals and resolutions.
New Year Activity - Focus and Goal-Setting


SCAVENGER HUNT
Have some fun with a classroom scavenger hunt. Students have to find items that fit the 2017 clues. Then, they get to create their own scavenger hunt. This is a great activity to get your students up and moving around the room. It's perfect for a bell-ringer or exit slip activity, too.

New Year Activity - Scavenger Hunt


WRITING POETRY
Use the numbers in 2017 to write an acrostic poem. This can be challenging for younger students, though it seems simple. Some students like to choose just one word per line, but others will be more creative and use more than one word per line. However they wish to complete their poem is always fine with me. I never like to place limits on their creativity.

New Year Activity - Acrostic Poem


CLOSE READING POETRY ANALYSIS
Students read the song lyrics to "Auld Lang Syne" and analyze it for meaning, figurative language, and vocabulary in context. This is an activity that can be used year after year (is not specific to 2017 or any other year). The answer key is included.

New Year Activity - Close Reading Auld Lang Syne Analysis


AND MORE...
The pack also includes additional writing prompts and a back-to-school activity (great for my Aussie friends or anyone wanting to use it for the 2017-2018 school year). 

FOLDABLE ACTIVITIES
Four of the activities are included for interactive notebooks.

New Year Activity - Foldables Interactive Notebook Activities


New Year Activity - Foldables Interactive Notebook Activities

New Year Activity - Foldables Interactive Notebook Activities

New Year Activity - Foldables Interactive Notebook Activities

New Year Activity - Foldables Interactive Notebook Activities


DOODLE IT!
Do you have students who love to doodle or create zentangle designs and patterns? I included blank 2017 images just for that purpose. 

New Year Activity - Doodle 2017

New Year Drawing Coloring Activity


Yes, ALL of these activities are included in my one 2017 New Year bundle:

New Year Activities https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/New-Years-2017-Resolution-Goals-Activities-2885520


I hope you and your students have a wonderful New Year! I'd love to see examples of your students' work, so don't forget to tag me if you post them. :) Thanks for sharing.

8.09.2016

Teaching #BlackLivesMatter in an all-white school



I teach in a small, rural, almost all-white community. So maybe you're wondering why I would be teaching #BlackLivesMatter.  The answer? This is where it's needed the most.

Whenever I teach Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird, I make sure to cover stereotyping, racism, and use of the N-word before we even open the book. But in the past few years, I've found it harder and harder. Honestly, I thought after President Obama was elected things would change for the better.



Spongebob Squarepants is a TM of Viacom International Inc.
Yes, I believed life very well could be rainbows and sunshine. Anti-Obama supporters would see the light and embrace the historic moment. Instead, I saw people who I thought were upstanding citizens posting the most hateful, racist comments and memes on social media. And it only got worse. It didn't take long for students to pick up on what they heard at home and for the hateful language to slip into usage at school. Which made my job even more important.

If you think a white teacher shouldn't be teaching #BlackLivesMatter to white students, think again. This is the audience that needs to hear the message the most.


The biggest problem is the lack of understanding of WHY a movement like #BlackLivesMatter is necessary and important. I hear many people say, "Well, don't ALL lives matter?" Yes, they do. But, in reality, it is a mythical notion unsupported by facts. 


History tells us that our country was founded on the principle that white men matter. It would take many, many years for the populace to agree that perhaps black men, and perhaps white women, and then maybe black women matter, too. But...not as much as white men. 


Members of our judicial branch, law enforcement, and lawmakers make decisions every single day that impact each and every one of us. Their actions speak clearly: white men matter more. 


Teaching #BlackLivesMatterDon't believe me? Then explain this:

• Eighty-eight percent of law enforcement officers are white. (Source: Wall Street Journal)


• Black drivers are pulled over by law enforcement three times more than white drivers, DESPITE the fact that police are less likely to find contraband in a black driver's vehicle. (Source: NYTimes)


• Even though whites use and sell drugs at the same (or even higher) rate as blacks and Latinos, minorities are more likely to be arrested for it. (Source: NYDailyNews)


• Despite the fact that numerous people and businesses are to blame, only one Wall Street executive was convicted for the 2007 mortgage/housing crisis that launched our country/world into the Great Recession (estimated losses globally=$4 trillion). That executive is a minority. (Source: NYTimes)


• Blacks and Latinos have suffered the most as a result of the mortgage/housing crisis. (Source: CBSNews)


• Prosecutors are 95% white. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

• Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be incarcerated for a crime than a white person. (Source: ACLU)


• One in three black men will be incarcerated in his lifetime. (Source: ACLU)


• Though only making up 6% of the population, black men comprise 35% of the prison population. (Source: ACLU)


• Corey Batey and Brock Turner were both found guilty of raping an unconscious victim. Both were 19-years-old, both were college students, and in both cases, there was ample evidence for thier convictions. One man was sentenced to the mandatory minimum of 15 to 25 years for rape. One was sentenced to six months in the local jail, with early release in three months for good behavior. The only difference between the men? One is black, the other is white. Can you guess who received the harsher punishment? (Source: NYDailyNews)


• The sentence for a crime committed by a black male is 20% longer than the sentence given to a white male. (Source: ACLU) In Batey's case, it was 3000% longer.


• Sixty-five percent of prisoners serving life sentences without parole for nonviolent crimes are black. It jumps to over 70% in federal prisons. (Source: ACLU)


• Across the nation, prosecutors are more likely to strike a potential juror if he/she is black in death penalty cases. (Source: NYTimes)


• In the South, black jurors are stricken at a much higher rate (80%) than whites. (Source: NPR


• Eighty-seven percent of members in Congress are white. (Source: Scholastic)


• Seventy-six percent of all millionaires are white. (Source: Statista & CBSNews)


• In 2012, many states tried to pass voter-ID laws that required voters to show a driver's license or personal ID issued by the government. A majority of the voters these laws would affect were minorities. (Source: TheAtlantic)


• The amount of new voting laws passed by states in 2012 was the most since the Jim-Crow era. (Source: NYTimes)


Teaching #BlackLivesMatter: Notice a Trend?• Thirty-four of the 50 states take away voting rights of citizens who have been incarcerated. (Source: BrennanCenterForJustice)

• In 2014, elected officials blocked a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10/hr.; 60% of minimum-wage workers are minorities. (Source: AmericanProgress


• Elected officials also blocked the Paycheck Fairness Bill in 2014; it would have issued harsher penalties for discrimination pay gaps between men and women. (Source: DailySignal)


• Twenty million black workers would have benefitted with higher paychecks if the American Jobs Act had been passed in 2011. (Source: WhiteHouse)


• Congress has only allowed 42% of President Obama's judicial nominations to pass, compared to 86% of Bush II's and 84% of Clinton's. (Source: WashingtonPost)


• Most toxic waste sites are created in minority-populated neighborhoods. (Source: Newsweek)


• The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)--a branch of the government--denied 95% of all civil rights claims against polluters in minority communities. (Source: Newsweek)


• The principle cause of the Flint, MI water crisis was "...the state government’s blatant disregard for the lives and health of poor and black residents of a distressed city." (Source: NYTimes)


• Even though white men make up 31% of the population, they hold 65% of ALL elected positions in the U.S. (Source: WashingtonPost)


Do you happen to see a trend? Do these actions represent a society that believes ALL lives matter? 


Time and time again, the people who are supposed to be representing ALL Americans seem to act as though only the white upper class matters. Our society of mass-incarcerations of our minorities causes a ripple effect that disenfranchises minority voters, thus producing a majority of white leadership, thus continuing the endless cycle of racism, discrimination, and the need for movements such as #BlackLivesMatter. 


As long as white men hold the majority of power in our nation, it is up to them to do the right thing and make decisions that are NOT based on race or income or social status. They need to make selfless decisions: sacrificing their elite statuses for the benefit of society as a whole. And while I believe there are many white men who are more than willing to make these sacrifices (I live with two of them), I am sure there are still many who are frightened by the prospect of giving up such power. (Which is probably why so many are against the idea of a female president.)


Therefore, educating our young white students on these matters is essential. They are the ones that can effect change and help make a difference. They can ensure a future where #AllLivesMatter is, in fact, a reality.


Teaching #BlackLivesMatters

4.24.2016

Shakespeare Giveaway for Teachers

Shakespeare Giveaway


Please join my fellow TpT English teachers in this great giveaway hosted by David Rickert! ALL of the resources can be used with ANY Shakespeare play. And please share why YOU love teaching Shakespeare in the comments below.

Six English teachers with a love for Shakespeare are hosting a giveaway in honor of Shakespeare's birthday. (It's also the 400th anniversary of his death.) One lucky winner will get six great lessons that can be used with ANY Shakespeare play. So what can you win? Click on the links to get a preview and find out how to enter.

Presto Plans has a lesson on Shakespeare's Language called "What Would Shakespeare Say?"

Need some room decor? Room 213 is offering a Shakespeare Word Wall and Posters.

Tracee Orman has a great way to introduce Shakespeare with a Life and Times Power Point.

The Classroom Sparrow has a handy reference guide with her Shakespeare Mini Book.

Reach for the stars with Brynn Allison's Astrology Based Characterization Activity.

David Rickert's Comic Lesson on Iambic Pentameter will introduce students to the way Shakespeare writes.

The raffle will run from Sunday, April 24th to Sunday, May 1st. How do you enter? Simply click the link below and enter your favorite Shakespeare quote. It's that easy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

So why do these teachers love Shakespeare?

Presto Plans:
"Since students often feel that Shakespeare isn’t relevant today, my goal when I teach his work is to find ways to relate the plot, characters, and themes to their lives. What I enjoy most about teaching Shakespeare is seeing my students make a personal connection to universal themes (loyalty, ambition, jealousy, betrayal) that emerge in his work. When students can make those connections, the class discussion always becomes far more interesting and engaging, and I know Shakespeare still has a place in today’s classroom."

Room 213:
"I love teaching Shakespeare because not only is he a brilliant writer, but he understood what makes we humans tick. What I enjoy most of all, though, is finding ways to draw students into his plays. Most have preconceived notions and dread when it comes to Shakespeare, but I design my lessons and activities in a way that helps connect the plays to their lives and, that way, it's more interesting and enjoyable for them."

Tracee Orman:
"I love the moment when students hear famous lines spoken that they never realized were penned by Shakespeare. Today in class we covered Marc Antony’s “Cry Havoc! and let slip the dogs of war” quote in Act III of The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. After that scene, I showed them the beginning of an episode of Big Bang Theory where Sheldon quotes the phrase after he seeks revenge on the person who hacked his World of Warcraft account and stole his weapons. There are so many great allusions, quotes, parodies, and references to Shakespeare; I love opening their eyes to them. When former students email or post/tag examples or references they come across on my social media pages, it warms my heart to know they not only still remember this play from sophomore year, but they actually understand the reference or allusion."

The Classroom Sparrow:
The best part about teaching Shakespeare is the level of engagement the plays can bring to a classroom. Most students are not excited about Shakespeare because they have a hard time understanding the language, but once they start reading the first few acts, the students are eager to find out what will happen next. By the end of the unit, students have a better appreciation for Shakespeare in that many of his themes are timeless.

Brynn Allison:
"Reading any of Shakespeare's works is difficult for my students, many of whom read several levels below grade level, but this challenge is what makes teaching Shakespeare so rewarding. My students are incredibly proud of themselves when they begin to read and understand his plays. Acting out key scenes and making connections between the timeless themes in Shakespeare's dramas and real world issues helps to increase students' comprehension. Have students practice insulting each other using Shakespeare's language before reading the first scene in Romeo and Juliet or by conducting a People magazine-like interview of Portia and Calpurnia from Julius Caesar. Activities like these help students to see that world in Shakespeare's plays is not so different from their own."

David Rickert:
"I love the challenge of teaching Shakespeare to students who are reading it for the first time. I love his plays. They have comedy, tragedy, thrills, chills, and just all around great writing. There are some wonderful metaphors in the plays, and I find myself using them in everyday language without thinking about it."
Good luck!
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2.19.2016

Harper Lee: The Silent Salute for You


Though I knew this day would come, my heart still stopped when one of my students ran into my classroom this morning and told me the news that Harper Lee had passed.

I have a hard time articulating how deeply her words meant to me when I first read To Kill a Mockingbird as a junior in high school. There was something about her narrative style that I hadn't read before and I was addicted. It was the only book we read as part of a curriculum that I wanted to buy for myself. I did, and I continued to re-read it every year until I was hired to teach sophomore English and could re-read it several times each year. It still remains a favorite after all these years.

While I am saddened that I will never have the opportunity to meet or see my literary hero, I am glad that Nelle Harper Lee died peacefully in her sleep and lived a full, happy, quiet life.

Three-Finger Silent Salute Harper Lee
Her legacy of tolerance will live on as her words continue to inspire generation after generation. The silent salute to you, Harper Lee.

Harper Lee quote www.traceeorman.com

Harper Lee quote www.traceeorman.com

Harper Lee quote www.traceeorman.com

R.I.P. Nelle Harper Lee
April 28, 1926 - February 19, 2016

2.14.2016

Valentine Rejected Candy Hearts

Valentines Day Rejected Candy Hearts www.traceeorman.com


Valentines Day: Some people love it; some hate it. Whatever your preference, everyone seems to get a laugh from #RejectedCandyHearts. These are the words and phrases that didn't make the cut on the popular Valentine conversation hearts. You can find examples with a free download in my TpT store and on Twitter using the hashtag #rejectedcandyhearts.

DISCLAIMER: Some of these can be crude and inappropriate, of course, so if you share with your students, use your own discretion.


MAKE IT EDUCATIONAL


Students love to come up with these sayings if you give them the opportunity. This activity is short and perfect for an exit slip or bell ringer (last five or first five minutes of class). Make the assignment related to your content area and watch the creativity flow in your classroom.

ELA: For example, if you teach English/language arts, have your students think of words/phrases for the hearts that one character would give another in the novel or story you are reading.
Valentine's Day To Kill a Mockingbird Candy Hearts www.traceeorman.com

Or use author puns, vocabulary words, and, of course, Shakespearean insults!
Valentine's Day Book Author Candy Hearts www.traceeorman.com

HISTORY, SS: Current events, politics, and historical figures are all fodder for phrases. (Ask students what message Abe Lincoln would send to Jefferson Davis on a conversation heart either pre- or post-debate.) These can jump-start many class discussions related to your content.
Valentine's Day History Current Events Candy Hearts www.traceeorman.com

SCIENCE: Students could have a contest to see who can come up with the funniest chemical element combination or science-related pun.

MATH: Have students think differently about numbers by allowing them to come up with creative equations and math-puns for the hearts. In many ways, math class is perfect for this because numbers can express thoughts and feelings with brevity.
Valentine's Day Math Science Candy Hearts www.traceeorman.com


Whatever your content area, your students will love this brief exercise in creativity.

VALENTINE'S DAY OR ANYTIME

The best part? It can be done any time (though before or after Valentine's Day seems logical).
*As a post-Valentine's Day activity, phrase your prompt in the past-tense:
"Before he was killed, Julius Caesar received a package of conversation candy hearts from the Senate. What messages were on them?"
Valentine's Day Julius Caesar Rejected Candy Hearts www.traceeorman.com

Just for fun:

Fun with #RejectedCandyHearts www.traceeorman.com

(Want to liven up your next faculty meeting? Prompt your colleagues for their favorites and let the fun begin!)

Please share your favorite #RejectedCandyHearts messages in the comments below.

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I teach high school English in Illinois; enjoy family time, baseball, collecting PEZ dispensers, and talking about anything related to my favorite books. They include The Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Chaos Walking trilogy, and anything written by Amy Tan.

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