Showing posts with label teaching. Show all posts
Showing posts with label teaching. Show all posts

1.07.2014

Blogging PLN Challenge Accepted





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Happy New Year, Friends! I can't believe it's been a month since I've blogged here, but that changes today. I was tagged by Mike Nitzel (@MikeNitzel) on Twitter and have accepted his blogging challenge. You can read Mike's answers and random facts HERE (they won't put you to sleep, contrary to what he thinks!). I could relate to many things Mike wrote because we live in the same area. Pretty cool, huh!? Anyway, hopefully I won't bore you to death with my answers...


Here are the rules of the challenge:
1) Acknowledge the nominating blogger (check!)
2) Share 11 random facts about yourself.
3) Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you.
4) List 11 bloggers. They should be bloggers you believe deserve some recognition and a little blogging love!
5) Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer and let all the bloggers know they have been nominated (You cannot nominate the blogger who nominated you).

Eleven random facts about me...
1. I'm from Iowa. (Insert your favorite Iowa joke here; I'm used to it.) 

2. Though I lived in Iowa for 22 years, I was born in Michigan. My dad was doing the sheet metal construction on the Pontiac Super Dome at the time, so that's where my parents lived temporarily for a year or so. They moved back to Iowa when I was seven months old.

3. I currently live on the other side of the river. (We Quad-Citians refer to the Mississippi River as just "the river," even though the Rock River is here, too. We call that "the Rock." Kind of confusing to visitors, I'm sure.) My husband and I have lived in a small town outside of the Quad Cities since 2001, where we both teach.


4. We have a 15-year-old son who is involved in sports and likes to drum. And is learning to drive. Which scares me to death. On the other hand, I do look forward to next fall when I can say, "Honey, could you run to the store and get..."

5. My favorite sport is baseball. I grew up going to all of my brother's games and was raised in an area that breeds baseball players (if you've seen the movie "The Final Season," then you've seen where I grew up).

6. I did many different things before I started teaching, including car sales. There's only so much you can do with a degree in English and Mass Communications/Journalism. Especially when the only newspaper hiring was for pro bono work. So back to school I went...

7. We have a nine-year-old Italian Greyhound named Sparky. He's our baby and is spoiled rotten. But he's pretty high maintenance, too. With our son being in high school sports, we feel pretty guilty leaving Sparky at home. Which is why he usually comes with us for football and baseball games. I did mention he's spoiled, right?

8. Wow...eleven random facts is harder than I thought. I can count this one, right?

9. I teach high school English. Lately I wonder why I wanted to torture myself with a career that guarantees I will always have an endless stack of papers to grade, pages to read, tests to write, lessons to plan. Then I remember the perks: sharing my love for reading and writing with dozens of teens each year. (It's too bad my love for reading doesn't include poorly-written essays. Then my job really would be a dream-come true!) 

10. You may have noticed that I have a second job besides high school English teacher. (I'm saying this sarcastically...) I started selling my teaching resources on TeachersPayTeachers in 2009. I never dreamed that teachers would even care about the activities I create for my students, let alone want them. I'm very humbled by the amount of teachers who have used my resources. Their comments and notes mean the world to me, even though I can't respond to all of them. 

11. Lately I've been considering writing full-time... More on that below.

Whew...that was hard! Now on to the specific questions from Mike...

1) Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi products, for sure. (Diet Mountain Dew is my choice. I know it's terrible for me. But I love it.)

2) List the items you would have on the menu for your "last meal". My favorite meal would have to include portobello mushrooms, caramelized onions, steak, my mom's green beans (she cooks them in butter and garlic and I can never replicate them no matter what I do), and cheese cake. And a scoop of Whitey's ice cream. OK...now I am hungry...

3) If you were not an educator, what profession would you have liked to pursue and why? For my random facts I said I was considering writing full-time. That was always what I wanted to "be" when I was a kid, though finding a career as a "writer" is pretty tough, as I learned. I love journalism, but I really didn't want to be a reporter forever. Then I started to get into design and layout when I was a newspaper/yearbook advisor. (When I was in college we still did the "cut and paste" layout. And I mean literally cut and paste.) I loved it. It spilled over into my lessons and I could seriously see myself writing novel units and educational resources full-time.

4) What is the best leadership book you have ever read and why? Would it be awful for me to say I haven't read any "leadership" books? Does Donalyn Miller's The Book Whisperer count? ;)

5) What is your favorite movie and what about it makes it meaningful to you in some way? The English teacher in me absolutely loves "Dead Poets Society" and "The Freedom Writers." And the Stephen King fan in me loves "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Stand By Me." And then there's so many baseball movies... 

6) What is the one place you would like to visit in the world that you haven't been to? Italy. My mom is Italian and has family there none of us have ever met. It would be amazing to meet them and see the country.

7) Who has had the biggest influence on your professional life? My husband, for sure. He is an amazing teacher (social studies) and coach (baseball, of course). He inspires me to be a better teacher.

8) Share your favorite joke. This is one of my favorite "jokes" of all time. I've had this picture taped to the window next to my classroom door for years. I put it up one year for some spring break/Easter humor, and it has stayed there. It makes me laugh every time I see it.
 
9) Who is a hero of yours and why? (Caveat--You cannot say your parents. spouse, partner, or kids.  That's just a cheap way to win brownie points!) Perhaps it is because we just completed To Kill a Mockingbird and have been talking about the Civil Rights Movement in class, but I think Mamie Till is an unsung hero. She had the strength to allow the world to see what happened to her son—to show the world what racism looks like. She had nothing to gain herself; what she did was for all humanity. The amount of people she affected is countless.  

10) What is one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn? Most people are surprised to learn I was a sprinter in high school and went to state my junior and senior years. Let's just say I'm not much of a runner these days... 

11) Smooth or crunchy? Hmmm...I'm going to be difficult and say it depends. Or perhaps, both. 

If you made it this far, hallelujah! Now it's your turn!

I have to tag 11 fellow educators, so I've chosen:
3. Addie @ Teacher Talk
4. Tammy @ Juggling ELA
6. Ruth @ The Teacher Park
and anyone else who wants to participate! (I have to cut it short because my ride is waiting for me! I'll add to it soon.)

Here are my 11 questions (and I'm doing the same...borrowing from Mike's!):
1. Coke or Pepsi?
2. Favorite teaching tool?
3. What is the biggest change in education since you started teaching?
4. In ten years, I'll be...
5. Funniest thing said in your classroom?
6. If you were not an educator, what profession would you have liked to pursue and why?
7. What is the one place you would like to visit in the world that you haven't been to?
8. Who has had the biggest influence on your professional life?
9. Favorite book?
10. What is one thing about yourself that most people would be surprised to learn?
11. If you won the lottery, what would you do with your winnings?

And thanks, again, Mike, for tagging me. I needed a little push to get back into blogging. ;)


12.08.2013

To Kill a Mockingjay (When Two Worlds Collide)

When two worlds collide: To Kill a Mockingjay


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My students recently finished reading Harper Lee's classic (and my all-time favorite) novel To Kill a Mockingbird. We happened to finish the novel the day "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" movie was released. Perhaps it was in the spirit of excitement to see Suzanne Collins' novel Catching Fire played out on screen that I created this typo on my students' To Kill a Mockingbird short answer test.

Free Activity Download
Literary Mash-Ups: The Potter Games Choose Your Adventure Game
http://thepottergames.com
I guess it was only a matter of time before my love for The Hunger Games collided with my love for To Kill a Mockingbird. But mashing up literary works can actually be quite fun...when it's done on purpose, of course. One of the greatest experiences I've had since reading The Hunger Games trilogy was being one of the writers and editors of The Potter Games, a fun choose-your-adventure mash-up of the Harry Potter series and The Hunger Games trilogy. Students, fans, and bibliophiles can still visit the site today and play the original game or try any of the newer spin-offs. It's a great exercise for your students because it involves reading and critical thinking skills to actually become a victor of the Games.

I have a FREE download to accompany the website. It includes directions for your students to create their own literary mash-ups. Try this activity out when you have a few minutes left in class or want a fun pre-holiday interactive and technology-driven activity your students will love.
Free download lesson http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/The-Potter-Games-Using-Interactive-Fiction-to-Improve-Reading-143795

Common Core Skill: Literary Allusions
Of course, literary allusions are nothing new. In addition to creating their own mash-ups, students can try to identify examples of literary allusions in any piece of fiction or nonfiction. Identifying and explaining allusions is a Common Core skill your students should be practicing while reading (in grades 8-12).

For instance, To Kill a Mockingbird is chock full of literary allusions. The first chapter makes reference to the novel The Gray Ghost by Seckatary Hawkins and the Tom Swift books by Victor Appleton. Some allusions are used to enhance and clarify the time period, while others play a greater role. Stoner's Boy in The Gray Ghost becomes an important thematic link between the characters and the two main plots of the novel.

If you are looking for a resource to use while teaching To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hunger Games, or other novels, you can find materials in my TeachersPayTeachers online store.

12.01.2012

Happy Holidays From Your Favorite TpT Teachers!

Happy Holidays from your favorite TpT sellers! www.traceeorman.com
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Last year Rachel Lynette from Minds in Bloom started a wonderful holiday tradition to thank the supporters of TeachersPayTeachers: a free holiday eBook filled with free holiday tips and links to free teaching downloads from TpT teacher authors.

This year the book has been split up into separate books based on grade level. The grades 7-12 was compiled by Addie Williams of Addie Education and can be downloaded here:

My page from the book looks like this:
Free Downloads for the Holidays! Grades 7-12  www.traceeorman.com
 There is one broken link to my Common Core Writing PEEL Chart and Graphic Organizer. Sorry about that!

Rachel Lynette compiled the grades 3-6 book, which can be found here:

My page from the 3-6 book is for a free clipart download:
Free Downloads for the Holidays! Grades 3-6  www.traceeorman.com

Here are the other Holiday eBooks:

And from all the contributors and myself, we hope you have a wonderful holiday season and fantastic winter break!

11.24.2012

Cyber Monday...Need Common Core Resources?


Cyber Monday Sale www.traceeorman.com

Day two post for sale...

It's shopping time for teachers again: Cyber Monday (& Tuesday) Sale on TeachersPayTeachers! 

Last night I started a post about teaching resources that you'll want to put in your cart. I'm continuing today with additional products--especially those geared for aligning your curriculum with the Common Core State Standards.

Part two of the essential products you'll want to add to your cart include (middle and high school teachers):
Sale! Common Core Reading Grades 6-12 www.traceeorman.com



Common Core Reading Assessment www.traceeorman.comCommon Core Reading Graphic Organizers for Grades 6-12 - My grades 11-12 bundle contains organizers for all the reading informational & reading literature anchor standards for grades 6-12. The 9-10 bundle contains organizers for grades 6-10, and the 6, 7, 8 bundle has the organizers for those specific grades. Because the 9-10 standards build upon the 6-8 and the 11-12 build upon the 9-10, it's essential to practice the skills but take it to a higher (deeper) level as students age. My organizers are great for daily work while reading, along with formal and informal assessments.




For my elementary friends:
Editable Vocabulary Activities - Common Core Aligned http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Vocabulary-Graphic-Organizers-Grades-2-5

Common Core Vocabulary Organizers & Prompts - Everyone has graphic organizers...why these? What makes mine unique is that they are provided in Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, along with a PDF copy, so you can customize them with words, differentiate for certain students, and make adjustments to suit your needs. Besides being a great resource for vocabulary/language practice, students will practice reading and writing skills at the same time. All the standards work with one another so I designed my handouts to utilize and capitalize on it; while your students are practicing vocabulary skills, they are also building their reading and writing skills. For grades 2-5. Coming soon: a packet for older students!
Common Core Language Standards http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Vocabulary-Graphic-Organizers-Grades-2-5



What will I be buying? (Or perhaps already purchased early!)
My friend Kristen, owner of Secondary Solutions, has awesome literature units. When I was assigned to teach regular English IV this year (I had seniors before, but the general/remedial class, which follows a different curriculum) I knew Beowulf would be one of the units I would have to teach. I must admit I hated reading it in college and was dreading teaching it. Secondary Solutions to the rescue! Here's Kristen's Beowulf unit--aligned to the Common Core, of course--that will save me much time (and agony!): http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Beowulf-Literature-Guide-Common-Core-Aligned-Teaching-Guide

See you tomorrow for some additional finds to put in your shopping cart!
Post below links to your favorite items that you'll be purchasing Monday & Tuesday.

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