Teaching Resources I Use Weekly

I could not live without these resources. That seems like a stretch, but it really isn't. It has taken me years to create and compile them and I always find room for adding and improving them, as well. That's why these two resources are the ones I turn to for so many reasons: when I need a sub, when I want to liven class up, when we have 10 minutes left and I want to challenge my students. I use them weekly and I hope you'll find them as useful, as well.
A Year of Journal Prompts: 402 Total Prompts http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Year-of-Journal-Writing-Prompts-Common-Core-Standards

A Year of Journal Prompts {Common Core Correlated} - Almost 400 writing exercises in all! You won't need to look anywhere else for a writing prompt; I utilized history and popular culture so the prompts are relevant and engaging. Includes handouts to prompt your students.

A Year of Journal Prompts: Monthly Prompts http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Year-of-Journal-Writing-Prompts-Common-Core-Standards
Each month has 15-20 detailed prompts, for a total of 196. 

In addition, it contains:
A Year of Journal Prompts: Quote Prompts http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Year-of-Journal-Writing-Prompts-Common-Core-Standards
• 73 quote prompts

A Year of Journal Prompts: Anytime Prompts http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/A-Year-of-Journal-Writing-Prompts-Common-Core-Standards
• 88 anytime prompts 
and 45 one-liners, for a total of 402 writing prompts!

Creative Activities for ANY Novel or Story - This packet is still one of my all-time favorite resources. I utilize it often for both shorter creative prompts/activities and for longer project assignments in my classroom. I recently updated it to include even more activities and handouts, plus rubrics for assessment. There's a reason why it has remained in my top three best-selling products of all time.
Creative Activities for ANY Novel or Story http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Creative-Activities-for-ANY-Novel-or-Short-Story-with-Handouts

Creative Activities for ANY Novel or Story http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Creative-Activities-for-ANY-Novel-or-Short-Story-with-Handouts

The file is up to 41 pages, plus it has links to websites with additional resources. If you teach in a 1:1 school, there are several online projects. I incorporated technology into several older ideas. The page above shows the many handouts you can use with your students.

I just finished my Common Core Vocabulary Graphic Organizers tonight, so I'll blog more about those another day. But here's a link if you want to check them out!

Common Core Graphic Organizers Vocabulary http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Vocabulary-Graphic-Organizers-Grades-6-12

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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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Cyber Monday Sale for Teachers!

Cyber Monday & Tuesday Sale for Teachers www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Tracee-Orman

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

Stock up on resources for the rest of 2012 and to start the new semester off with a bang. All my items will be marked down; be sure to take advantage of the great savings using the code CMT12 at checkout.

Over the next few days I'm going to be posting about some great products you won't want to miss! Follow my blog to get all the updates. I'll also be posting some new products that I think you're going to love!
Common Core Reading Assessment - www.traceeorman.com

Part one of the essential products you'll want to add to your cart include (middle and high school teachers):

English Language Arts Reading Assessment - This is a great packet for teachers looking for Common Core State Standards-aligned reading evaluations. It includes a lengthy non-fiction reading passage, a shorter fictional piece, writing response, and vocabulary in-context assessments. Appropriate for grades 8-10.

Common Core Creative Writing iPad Literacy Activity www.traceeorman.comFor my elementary friends:

iPad Literacy Common Core Creative Writing Activities - If your students have ever had the opportunity to use an application on an iPad, you can use these activities to generate that excitement of technology into writing activities. Practices many Common Core State Standards skills for grades 1 and 2 (though higher grades seem to like it, as well!). Coming soon: a packet for the older students!

For my clip art fanatics:
Clip art bundle for commercial use - www.traceeorman.com
Mega Bundle of Teachers & Students Clip Art for Commercial Use - The sale is a great time to stock up on my people bundle. And how can you resist those faces? ;)

What will I be buying?

Kimberly Geswein Commercial License for ALL Fonts - I absolutely love her fonts! I've already purchased several individual licenses, but she continues to create gorgeous fonts (that include great high-school friendly scripts) so I know her store-wide license will be more than worth it.

See you tomorrow for some additional finds to put in your shopping cart! Browse my store on TeachersPayTeachers to find additional resources.

In the comments below, post links to your favorite items that you'll be purchasing Monday & Tuesday. 

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The Power of a Talking Dog

The Power of a Talking Dog: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go By Patrick Ness

Conversation with a student...
“Is this the book about the talking dog?”
“Is it any good? I heard it was good.”
“Oh yes, it’s very good. You should read it. In fact, you should read all three.”
“There’s three?”
“Yep. Here’s the first one.”
“Oh...wow...that’s a lot of pages…”
“Give it a shot. I know you’ll love it.”

A couple of years ago I was in Mockingjay-withdrawal. I had a hard time finding good books to read and was tired of reading one then waiting a year for the next one. Then a fellow Hunger Games fan/teacher suggested I read Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy (all three books were already published!). And at first, I wasn’t really getting into the whole “New World” setting and the narrator’s vernacular was annoying. But after a few chapters, I was once again hooked. You know what did it? Manchee, the talking dog. Well, he doesn’t really talk, but you can hear his thoughts. And they are funny. And real. And exactly what the story needed. Just read the first paragraph and try not to laugh out loud.

Conversation after same student is almost finished with the first book… 
“I hate you for suggesting this book! I refuse to finish it!”
“I know...I felt the exact same way. I threw it across the room, I was so mad.”
“Yeah...that’s what I did, too.”
“It helped me writing about it.”
“Well, I’m not finishing it. I’m done with this series.”
“I know. It’ll be here if you want to finish.”

Next day, student waiting at my door in the morning…
“I need to finish it! I couldn’t sleep last night thinking about it.”
“I know. I know…

The student came back the next day and checked out the next two books, The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men (yep, funny titles. But they make perfect sense in the books.). She read over 1,200 pages in a couple of weeks. More than she had read the previous year. 

The Power of a Talking Dog: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Best opening lines. Ever.
It's a powerful series and one that I will be talking about later this week on my other blog, Hunger Games Lessons. There are many comparisons to The Hunger Games--both being a dystopia about teenagers who must fight for survival. And I just completed my teaching unit for The Knife of Never Letting Go, so look for some great teaching materials that go along with it in my teacher store, as well. I correlated everything with the Common Core State Standards, which is why it has been a work in progress for almost two years now. 

I highly recommend the trilogy. It's geared more toward high school, but mature 8th graders should be able to handle the language and violence. If you teach younger students, you MUST read A Monster Calls by Ness. Once you do, I think you will see why I love everything he writes. He has a way of bringing you into the story and feeling exactly what the characters feel. 

You can find both books on Amazon here: Author Patrick Ness
And his website: http://www.patrickness.com/

And...The Knife of Never Letting Go has been selected as one of the books that will be given out on World Book Night (April 23, 2013)! Are you convinced now it may be worth the read? :)

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Common Core Tips: Using Transitional Words in Writing

Use Transitions Anchor Chart www.traceeorman.com
One of the keys to writing is using appropriate transitional words and phrases. For students who struggle with writing a cohesive essay or paper, it is essential that they use words that not only create a natural flow or progression, but link each point together.

Using transitions is also a key aspect in each type of writing in the Common Core State Standards. For example, read the following writing standards for grades 9-10:

For Writing Arguments
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.1c Use words, phrases, and clauses to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships between claim(s) and reasons, between reasons and evidence, and between claim(s) and counterclaims. 

For Writing Informative/Explanatory Texts
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.2c Use appropriate and varied transitions to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts.

For Writing Narratives
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3c Use a variety of techniques to sequence events so that they build on one another to create a coherent whole.
(source: http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy/W/9-10)

Each type of writing piece will require certain types of transitions. The narrative transitions will vary from the types of transitions used for clarifying the relationship between claims and counterclaims in argumentatives.
Transitions for Narratives Anchor Chart www.traceeorman.com
The transitions for conveying a sequence and building suspense differ in a narrative from the counterpoints (or counterclaims) transitions in the argumentative chart.
Transitions for Arguments Anchor Chart www.traceeorman.com

To make it easier for you and your students, I've created anchor charts of example transitions that are aligned with the writing standards for transitions for grades 6-12. You can download a free PDF copy in my teacher store here: Common Core Transitional Words Anchor Charts

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Transitions for Informative/Explanatory Anchor Chart www.traceeorman.com

The free download has charts in black/white and in plain text worksheet format, as well.

In my news writing expository presentation (shown below), I give examples of unbiased transitions to use in objective writing pieces. Writing objective summaries is a staple in the Common Core State Standards for writing.
News Writing Example - Objective Transitions

I will be posting a bundle of Common Core writing resources soon, which will include graphic organizers and various exercises. In the meantime, I already have several excellent writing resources that help students through critical phases of the writing process, such as the news writing bundle above and the following resources:

Narrative Writing, Short Stories:

Informative Writing, News Writing:

Writing Style Rules: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-Style-Rules-Rubric-Self-Peer-Editing-Checklist-Journalism

Creative Writing, Poetry:
Writing Anchor Chart Common Core www.traceeorman.com

Informative/Explanatory and Argumentative Writing:
FREE: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Writing-PEEL-Anchor-Chart

Thanks for stopping by my blog. If you find these helpful, feel free to "pin" them and pass them along to other teachers. :)

More Halloween Costumes!

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Halloween costumes

Our high school celebrated Halloween today, so I thought I'd share some of the costumes with you. If you need some ideas, there were some pretty creative ones. My favorites included the "Meme" guys, Ms. Frizzle--your favorite Magic School Bus teacher, the "Toddlers and Tiaras," the 50 Shades of Grey boys, and so many more. Enjoy!
Group Costume: Globetrotters

Memes Halloween Costume

Toddlers and Tiaras - Ms. Frizzle Costumes

50 Shades of Grey Costumes - Halloween

And if you just don't feel like making a costume, here's an idea for a pretty easy one to make: Create a MasterCard "Priceless" sign and wear it around your neck. I wore this one a few years ago:
Halloween Mastercard Priceless Costume www.traceeorman.com


Halloween at the High School - Do You Dress Up?

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High School Teachers Halloween Cosumes

It's almost Halloween and I haven't started on my Halloween costume yet...in fact, I'm kind of a procrastinator when it comes to that, then find myself frantically pulling something together the night before. But, I must say, our teaching staff has been pretty darn good about sporting some cool costumes over the years.

Do you dress up at school? Do your students? Do you celebrate at all? I thought I would share some of our best (and maybe worst) costumes over the years...those I have pictures of, anyway. And to fill you in: my husband teaches at the same school, which is why we are often photographed together. ;]

Halloween Gilligan's Island
 Our school has contests each year for best group, best couple, best individual, scariest, most creative, etc. The faculty doesn't compete against the students, but we still like to have fun and participate. A couple of years ago we went as Gilligan's Island (I'm Lovey Howell...with my Andy Warhol wig.)
Halloween Village People
 The Village People (they even had a dance!)
Halloween Village People
Star Wars  Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
 My husband was Darth Vader and I went as Princess Leia's hologram that is projected from R2D2. (So my only line all day was, "Help me, Obi Wan Kenobi. You're my only hope!") I made my R2D2 with a popcorn bowl taped to a trash can on top of an ab roller. I stuck a flashlight inbetween the bowl & trash can so it looked like I was the hologram. I fashioned fishing line from the ab roller to my boot, so when I walked, R2D2 rolled with me. The students could not figure out how I got him to roll. ;)
Our son went as a Stormtrooper that year, so it was pretty cool when the elementary kids came over and did their parade at the high school. We forgot to get a group shot together, though. :(
Halloween Star Wars www.traceeorman.com

Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
Stephen King's Carrie.
Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
 Members of the Lollipop Guild with a fireman.
Munchkins Lollipop Guild Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
 Our special ed. teachers always have the best group costumes! (They organized the Gilligan's Island and this Lollipop Guild. Last year they did Charlie Brown. Another year was the Adams Family.)
Snoopy Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
Our art teacher is always creative, too. Here he is as Snoopy. Below, he's Buzz Lightyear.
My husband and I as King Tut and Sister Wendy. Yes, we are geeked out to the max!
www.traceeorman.com  Halloween costumes

And this was going to be my costume one year. I was supposed to cut out the eyes and go as the "Scream" painting by Munch (this was when I was also teaching art history). But I was so proud of my painting, I just couldn't cut the eyes. lol So I went as Princess Leia's hologram that year. 
Scream  Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
If I can find the picture of me as a PEZ dispenser, I will add it. That was definitely a challenging costume to get around in all day!

Here are some of my favorite student costumes over the last few years.
This one I am biased--it's our son as Mr. Bill. :) The crayons behind him are awesome, too.
Mr. Bill Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
 Rock, Paper, Scissors...
Rock Paper Scissors Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
 Tractor and paper sack guy.
 Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
 Tooth fairy.
 Tooth Fairy Halloween costumes www.traceeorman.com
 Taco Sauce Packets.
 Halloween costumes
 Jelly Belly jelly beans.
 Halloween costumes
 Fruit of the Loom.
 Halloween costumes  Fruit of the Loom
 Ken and Barbie in their Dream Car.
Ken and Barbie  Halloween costumes
 Girl Scout & Boy Scout.
 Halloween costumes  Scouts
 Miscellaneous class group picture.
 Halloween costumes
 And who doesn't love a pirate? Arrrrgh!
 Halloween costumes
 The Flintstones.
 Halloween costumes
 Bella and Edward (or, Edward's cut-out).
Twilight  Halloween costumes

 Will you dress up this year? If so, tell us as what you will be.
And post your links to your Halloween costumes below! :)

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