Showing posts with label tracee orman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tracee orman. Show all posts

Using Holiday Ads in the Classroom

Using Holiday Ads in the Classroom

During the holidays, advertisers ramp up their advertising, luring buyers to their stores. They'll use colorful, vivid words to snag new customers, which actually works in YOUR favor, English teachers! You can use their ads to teach a number of lessons.

Using Holiday Ads in the Classroom

1. CHANCE (or DADA) POEMS: Cut up the words and use them for an impromptu poetry writing session. I like to store the words in little plastic baggies and use them when we have time left at the end of the period. I'll have students work in groups and prompt them to create a poem based on the lesson we just practiced (or the book/story/character we are reading). Or if there is a fun event coming up (a holiday, a dance, etc.), have them create a poem related to the event. Give them a limited time to create a poem, then have each group share with the class.

Using Holiday Ads in the Classroom

Writing chance poems with newspaper ads

2. PARTS OF SPEECH REVIEW: Have students cut out the words themselves*, only with a twist--require students to find an example of each part of speech (noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection). You can make it a contest and see who can come up with the most (and the most interesting). *If the words are already cut out, they can just each take a baggie full and sort them by part of speech.

3. REVIEW IDIOMS AND CLICHÉS: Ads are perfect for containing overused idioms and clichés. Introduce and/or review the figurative phrases with your students. Have them find their own in the ads, old magazines, or in newspaper headlines.

Review Idioms and Clichés with Holiday Ads

4. ANALYZE THE MERIT OF MARKETING: Have students look over the ads, analyzing the marketing techniques used, including the word choices and design/aesthetics (colors, font, and placement of words and products on the page). Which phrases stood out to them? Which did they pay little attention to? Were others more effective? Why?

5. ANALYZE TARGET AUDIENCES: As students look over the ads, ask them to evaluate who might the target audience be for the ad. How did they come to that conclusion? Which words and/or phrases did they use as clues? Do the ads stereotype?

I've been using ads and newspapers in my classroom for years. If you do not have access to a newspaper or magazines, check with your media specialist to see if she/he has older copies that can be saved for you. Also, your school may be eligible for Newspapers in Education. It's a wonderful program that supplies classrooms with copies of newspapers, which are paid for by donations from local businesses.

My Magnetic Poetry Kit is also an option for activities #1 and #2 if you don't have access to newspapers or magazines.

You can keep collecting the ads through the spring: Valentine's Day ads are perfect for love-inspired poems; there's also President's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and so on... Each holiday will offer different flavors of language to suit the occasion.

Use holiday ads in the English/Language Arts classroom

COMING SOON: Handouts for each of these activities, which will be included in my POETRY BUNDLE (a bundle of ALL of my poetry-related resources...past, present, and future!)

Poetry bundle: A growing bundle of all my poetry resources

Using Holiday Ads in the Classroom

Using Holiday Ads in the Classroom

Creating Assignments in Google Classroom™

Creating and Posting Assignments in Google Classroom™

Creating and Posting Assignments, Announcements, and Questions in Google Classroom™

Now that you've set up your classes and invited your students to join them, it's time to start posting content. Your class "stream" will look like this (make sure you have the "Stream" tab selected in the middle of the header):

Creating and Posting Assignments in Google Classroom™

When you click on the plus (+) sign in the lower right-hand corner, your options for posting appear:

How to post an announcement in Google Classroom™

Posting options in Google Classroom™

Google Classroom gives you four options for the types of content to post: an Announcement, Assignment, Question, or Reuse a Post. In this post, I'll discuss Announcements and Assignments with examples. In my next post, I'll cover posting a Question and Reusing a post.

ANNOUNCEMENTS: Use this to announce to your class any important or pertinent information, reminders, supplemental materials to help them, etc. You can use this feature right away to welcome students to your online classroom and give them any class news, instructions, advice, or whatever. Share a link to a vocabulary list in Quizlet or No Red Ink assignment (more on that below). I also used "Announcement" to share funny memes or videos related to our unit of study.

Example of an announcement in Google Classroom™

After you click on the "Create announcement" choice, a pop-up window appears, which looks like this:

Posting an announcement in Google Classroom™

You have several decisions to make: Decide if you want to share it with just the one class or multiple classes. If you want it to be shared with multiple classes, click on the drop-down menu for the class and you can check off the other classes you want to share with.

Selecting classes for posting in Google Classroom™

Another option is if you want to just share with certain students. For example, if three students were absent from class and you want to share some lecture notes with them, you can select just those three from that drop-down menu. If you choose this option, you can NOT share the announcement with other classes; you'll have to go into each one and create a new announcement for individuals from those classes. Normally when you click on "All students," a list of your students will come up. (The screenshot below was taken before students joined the class.)

Selecting students for posting in Google Classroom™

TIP: You can also create "Topics" for your announcements or assignments. These are like tags that will allow you to click on the tag and find all the other posts under that topic. Example topics you could use might be for different units of study (a specific novel, short stories, argument writing, poetry, etc.), or for general topics of study (reading, writing, vocabulary, grammar, etc.), types of work in class (bell ringer, homework, essay, reading assignment, etc.), or for time periods (1st quarter, 2nd quarter, or September, October, etc.). Whatever you choose, just remember that you can only choose ONE topic per posting, so make it something that will make sense for your students (or you) to use as a tag.

Creating New Topics in Google Classroom™

Watch this video on creating topics using the "Topics" sidebar:

After you have decided on a topic (and you don't have to--I didn't use them at all my first year), you will notice there are options below on whether you want to attach a document or link. The icons represent attaching a file (paperclip), attaching a file from Google Drive™, linking to a YouTube video (play button), and adding a link from the web:

Options for attachments in Google Classroom™

If you click on the first two (attaching documents), it takes you to a window where you can choose to upload from your computer/device or from Google Drive™ using tabs at the top ("Recent" pulls your most recent files you've uploaded or modified in Google Drive™ and "Starred" are all the documents you have marked with a star in your Drive*--see below):

Inserting or attaching files in an assignment in Google Classroom™

Whatever you insert, it will create a copy of it in a special Classroom folder. (More on that in another post.)

*TIP: To mark a document with a star so it is easy to find when attaching to posts, select that file in Google Drive™, then go up to the document settings and select the three dots that indicate more options. In the drop down, you'll see the option to "Add a star." Select that and then it will appear in your "Starred" options.
Starring files in Google Drive™

Finally, you can either "Post" the announcement, "Schedule" it to be posted later, or "Save" your draft and edit and post later. I often used either the "Schedule" or "Save" feature when I created a post late at night and did not want to wake my students with a notification. Be aware that unless students have turned off those notifications, they will get them on their device when you post something.

Announcement posting options in Google Classroom™

Once you post it, it will appear in the class "Stream."

ASSIGNMENTS: Use the assignment feature to post something that you want to distribute and collect from students for a grade. This should be something that also has a due date. If there isn't a due date or work to collect, consider just using the announcement feature instead.

To post an assignment, follow the same steps as an announcement, but select "Create assignment." You will see a pop-up window that looks like this:

Creating an assignment in Google Classroom™

You have the same decisions to make as you did with posting an announcement: 
  1. Who do you want to assign this to? All classes? Just this class? 
  2. All students? Just certain students? 
  3. What do you want to title your assignment? 
  4. Would you like to file this under one of your topics?
  5. Would you like to attach a document or link to this assignment? (More on this in #8)
  6. Would you like to assign immediately, schedule it, or save the draft?

In addition, you will also need to decide the following:
  7. Due date: You can select a day and a specific time by clicking on the drop-down menus.
Selecting the due date on an assignment in Google Classroom™

  8. Attachments: Do you want to share a document that all students can view, or do you want each student to be able to collaborate and edit the same document, or allow each individual to have their own copy? 
Assignment attachment options in Google Classroom™

If it is something they are going to turn in to you, make sure you select that each student has his/her own copy. (I can't tell you how many times I forgot to select that option and I would hear several students call out, "I can't type on this!!") 

TIP: I mentioned this in my last blog post, but it is worth mentioning again: If you make a copy for each student and you have a co-teacher, it does NOT make a copy for the co-teacher. Therefore, if your co-teacher opens the document, any edits she/he makes happen on your template and appear on every student copy. Several times I had an aide typing the answers onto what she thought was her own copy as I was lecturing. Instead, she was typing the answers on every single student's copy. And do you think those students told us right away? Of course not!

The only fix for this is to make sure your co-teacher makes her/his own copy manually. She/He can open the file, then select File > Make a copy. Right now, this is the only way to ensure your original template remains intact. The students DO NOT have to do this; only a co-teacher if you have one in your Google Classroom™ class.
Making a copy of a file in Google Classroom™
If you have a co-teacher in Google Classroom™,
she/he will need to make a copy of the file in order to make changes to it.

You can review how to create an assignment in my video:

Thanks for stopping by for this tutorial. I will post next time on using the "Ask a question" and "Reuse post" options. 

Here are ALL of my Google Classroom™ posts:

Tips for secondary teachers on how you should set up your classes (pros and cons of having one Classroom per subject or one Classroom per class period).

Google Classroom Tips

Includes tips and tutorials for creating new classes; customizing the look of your classes; adding new materials/online text; adding students; and adding co-teachers, teacher aides, or access for special education teachers. 

Includes tips and tutorials for creating assignments, announcements, and topics. Also has tips on how to save and delay posting and collecting work for students.

Includes tips and tutorials for creating questions, the types of questions available (multiple choice & short answer), allowing students to interact and respond to one another, and how to easily reuse posts from class to class and year to year.

To see all of my tutorial posts for using Google Classroom™, click here:
Google Classroom™ tips from

Google Classroom™ is a trademark of Google Inc. Use of this trademark is subject to Google Brand Permissions. 

Go Set a Watchman By Harper Lee Close Reading Activities

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - Teaching Resources

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee will be published in just a couple of hours. While it's not exactly a new book, it is new writing for fans who have been clamoring for something--anything--from their beloved author. And I am one of those fans.

To Kill a Mockingbird is still (and will probably always be) my all-time favorite novel. So to get another look at my favorite characters from a different perspective (an older Scout), I was ecstatic. Then I read the first chapter and realized why she spent two years rewriting and revising the work.

It is important to understand that while the publishing of Go Set a Watchman (GSaW) is “new,” this novel is not new. It is Harper Lee’s first draft of her only novel, To Kill a Mockingbird (TKaM), submitted to her publisher in 1957 and asked by her editor to rewrite the story, using a child’s perspective. It took Lee two years to revise and rewrite it. In 1960, TKaM was published as the final version. Therefore, GSaW is not going to be as polished; it was her initial offering, and one that needed much revision. Readers should expect some of the characters will be different, and perhaps not as likable.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee - Teaching Materials
The beauty, though, of having her first draft to analyze, is that readers will be able to see where the characters and events originated. Readers will see how her writing improves with revision. And, hopefully, readers will be enlightened by the publishing process: how hard work, perseverance, and meticulous revisions are requirements in creating a classic novel. In today’s world of instant gratification, it’s important to look at the process and stages of a work that took years to develop and write.

Which is why I created a resource for my students to compare the two works. I am going to have them read closely the first chapter of GSaW and re-read the first chapter of TKaM and analyze how the author improved the story in various areas.

If you are looking for teaching resources for using GSaW in the classroom, you can find my materials in my teacherspayteachers store. All of the activities are aligned to the Common Core State Standards for reading, language, and writing.

I'd also love to hear what you think of Go Set a Watchman. Comment below with your thoughts/feeling. Thanks for visiting!

Go Set a Watchman Literature Resources for Teachers

Teachers Are Heroes Sale on TeachersPayTeachers


We all know that teachers are heroes. Every day there are countless acts of heroism by teachers: complimenting the student who has a low self-esteem, providing a snack for the student who forgot hers, giving an encouraging smile to the shy student as he begins his speech, stopping a bully from picking on another student, standing up to and speaking out to an administrator or board member about an unfair policy, grading 150 essays in record time, and so on. 

Teachers often don't realize how these small acts can make a huge difference in the lives of their students. And it's time to give back to all of those who work hard to make each and every day in a child's life worthwhile. 

That's why TeachersPayTeachers will be having a site-wide sale Wednesday, Feb. 25th. Use the code HEROES at checkout to receive 10%, plus get an additional 20% off from the following secondary sellers' stores. (See list, below.)

I will also be having 20% off EVERYTHING in my store. If you haven't checked out my newest resources, please do. I think you and your students will enjoy them!

Check out all these great Secondary teacher-authors, who will be having a sale in their stores on Wednesday:

New Year Freebie & Half Way There Teacher Resources Sale

  We are half way through the school year, so a group of secondary teachers are celebrating with a 20% off sale on our teaching resources from December 31st through January 1st. Arm yourself for the new year with great teacher-created resources from your favorite sellers on TeachersPayTeachers.

*Click on the image of your favorite seller (above) 
to go right to their store.*

Special thanks to Gina from All Things Algebra for the image!

Tracee Orman on TpT

My New Year gift to you: a free activity to start the year 
(or semester) off right!

I included both traditional handouts AND interactive notebook activities:
New Year Creative Writing Activities Freebie

2015 Goals Activity Free DownloadInteractive 2015 New Year Writing Activities Free

New Year Goal Setting Activity

Stay tuned for some NEW writing resources in my store in the next couple of days! For those of you who love my Argument Writing pack, I've been working on additional resources for Informational Writing.  

Have a great second half of the school year, 
my Teacher Friends!

Common Core Argument Writing

What's the difference between a persuasive essay and an argument essay? Click for more...

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Implementing the Common Core State Standards doesn't have to be difficult, though many teachers may be intimidated by the language used. For instance, we used to categorize our writing prompts by "persuasive," "expository,"  and "narrative." The Common Core State Standards changes the wording to: "opinion," "informative/explanatory," and "narrative" for grades K-5 and "argument," "informative/explanatory," and "narrative" for grades 6-12. But that doesn't mean that the writing process or the types of prompts need to be changed.

Persuasive vs. Argument Writing

So what's the difference between persuasive writing and writing an argumentative paper? Both rely on the opinion of the writer. An argument, however, uses facts and data to support the opinion expressed. Students need to research to find evidence rather than rely on opinion alone to support their opinion (or "claim").

Research can be a daunting task, especially for middle school students. I created a student-friendly argument guide you can share with your classes.

In ninth grade, students are required to address the opposition's opinion, which is called the "counterclaim." My students struggled with this at first, but after explaining it and showing them examples, they grasped it and had no problem writing their essays.

I created two more detailed products to help you teach argument writing and practice the skills with your students.

Argumentative Writing for Grades 6-12 {blog post}

My Argument Writing for Grades 6-12 pack includes the student guide, teacher's guidelines, handouts, and grading rubrics (all aligned with the Common Core State Standards for Argumentative Writing). It has over 60 pages of visually-stimulating and student-friendly graphics to explain each part of the essay process, including citations.

For high school teachers, I have an even more detailed guide that includes alignment with the PARCC guidelines for quarterly assessments.

High School Common Core and PARCC Writing for Argumentatives {blog post}

You can purchase these resources, plus many more in my teacherspayteachers store. And the best part? You can get them on sale (30% off) Thursday and Friday! Use the promo code TPT3 at checkout!

SALE! TeachersPayTeachers site-wide sale Feb. 27-28.

Thanks for stopping by my blog!

Book Spine Poetry: Using the Titles of Books to Write Poetry

The Long Winter - Book Spine Poetry from

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I love poetry and writing poems is one of my favorite activities to share with students. It's important to let them know that inspiration can be found anywhere...including on the spines of their favorite books.

Above is a shorter version of a poem about this winter created from the titles of books found in our classroom. Here's the full version:
Book Spine Poetry from  Click for more images.

Let it snow

Snow bound, the long winter



If you have had a winter like ours (and chances are you have!), you may feel the same way!

Have your students try to come up with different combinations of titles to create a book spine poem. Even if the words don't quite fit, they can drop or add their own words to their creation and, presto! There's a new poem!

Poetry shouldn't be hard; it shouldn't be a chore. Allow your students to have fun with it and experiment. They'll remember poetry as a positive experience and won't be as reluctant to write later. My "Write Like a Poet" pack helps guide students through the process by looking at many famous poets and poems and their style before tackling the writing process. It's a fun unit your students will enjoy.

Game on! Have students use book titles to create poems -
Game On! Look at me!
Throwing smoke point blank
Gold dust
More than this

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Have students use book titles to create poems -
Thirteen reasons why, looking for Alaska
And the mountains echoed the call of
the wild
Blood red road caught at sea
Let's pretend this never

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Creating poems from the spines of books on
more than this
call it
lessons learned

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Book spine poetry activities from Mrs. Orman's Classroom
The eye
of minds

the valley
of amazement

gone girl

and the mountains

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Another variation of the first poem...
Book spine poetry from Mrs. Orman's Classroom. Click for additional "poems."
Let it snow 

Snow bound, the long winter




Book Spine poems are just one of the many activities you'll find in my "Write Like a Poet" pack. It also covers free verse, sonnet, snapshot, acrostic, haiku & modern haiku, sonnets, chance, black-out (redacted), magnetic, online, and word cloud poems. In addition, it helps students create metaphors, similes, personification, and use onomatopoeia effectively in a poem. It is completely editable so you can customize the almost 200-page presentation and handouts to suit the needs of your students. (And this might be one of my all-time favorite lessons in my TpT store.) ENJOY!
The presentation is completely editable and includes numerous examples.
All handouts are editable!

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