Sunday, August 21, 2016

TpT Bonus Sale - The Daring English Teacher

Get those wish lists ready and submit feedback on all of your previously purchased resources, because it is time for the Teachers Pay Teachers Best Year Ever Bonus Sale. My entire TpT store will be on sale on Monday, August 22. Everything from money-saving bundles to SMARTePlans digital resources, and growth mindset resources to common core writing resources will be 28% off when you use the code: OneDay.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Classroom Routines to Establish in the Beginning of the Year

Effectively manage your new middle school or high school classroom by establishing these five classroom routines in the beginning of the year. First week classroom routines for effective classroom management.
By the end of the school year, we have our classrooms running like well-oiled machines. The students know what to do, when to do it, and what to expect from us. The beginning of the year is an entirely different story though. On the first day of school, a fresh batch of newbies enter our classroom with wide eyes. They are excited to see their friends, and they are a little anxious about their new classes. However, if they don’t have guidance and structure in the first week of school, they will call the shots and run the show. That is why it is so important to establish these five routines as quickly as possible. By the end of the first full week of school, students should know how you run you class and what you expect from them.

Effectively manage your new middle school or high school classroom by establishing these five classroom routines in the beginning of the year. First week classroom routines for effective classroom management.
1.Establish a bell ringer routine
I love bell ringers because they are a proven way to get students on-task quickly. Once a bell ringer routine is established, students will know that once the bell rings, the need to be in their seat working on the task. Bell ringers also are great because you can use those first five minutes in class to introduce a new topic, review an old concept, practice grammar, or make a student really think. I have a free bell ringer and do now log and many bell ringers available in my store. You can read more about how I hold students accountable for their bell work here.

2. Establish how students will enter class
If it were up to middle school and high school students, they would congregate outside of your classroom with their friends until the very last moment. Then just as the bell is almost done ringing, they would push through the door and meander through the room until eventually finding their seat. If you don’t establish your expectations and policies for how students will enter your classroom early on, this can be a difficult habit to break. It’s helpful to enforce your tardy policy early on and to have an activity during the first couple minutes of class.

3. Establish how students will leave class
At the end of the year, my students know not to pack up early. They just don’t do it because I make the students who pack up early, even two minutes early unpack everything and write at least one word on whatever it was were were working on. The beginning of the year is an entirely different scene; I has students packing up almost six minutes early the first week of school. Unacceptable. To combat this, I give students the very last one minute of class to pack up. However, in order to be dismissed at the bell, every student needs to be in their seat, sitting down, with phones put away.

4. Establish how students will turn in work
Usually you will have some sort of turn in bin or basket in which students turn in their completed assignments. However, in the beginning of the year, students won’t know this. You will want to show and explain to them how, when, and where students will turn in their work.

5. Establish when and how often students will be able to use the restroom
Without a clearly defined class restroom policy in place, your class will be the one class in their schedule that students designate as their time to use their restroom. And by use the restroom, I mean slowly walk to the restroom while simultaneously sending out some snapchats and taking a few selfies. As middle school and high schoolers, students need to know when it and is not an appropriate time to use the restroom. I like to assign a limited-use restroom pass to my students in the beginning of each semester. This pass is available for free here.

Once these five routines are established in your classroom, your room will begin to work more like a well-oiled machine. What is the one routine you feel is most important to establish in the beginning of the year?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Back to School: Classroom Management and Resorces

Build classroom culture the first week back to school by creating a classroom quilt. Each student receives a square. The outcome is beautiful!
Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!
Happy Back to School Season! I’m Christina, The Daring English Teacher, and this is my seventh year teaching high school English. Teaching high school English wasn’t always my dream career. Even though I spent countless hours as a child playing school with my kid brother –walking him up and down our hallway with his arms crossed, hand-drawing worksheets for him to complete, attempting to teach a seven-year-old how to create an outline about tigers and write a five paragraph essay, and writing questions to go along with a movie, being a teacher was never on my radar until after college and my first career. After graduating with a BA in journalism and political science, I began working in public relations. I loved the traveling, writing, and collaboration that came with that job, but I loathed many aspects of it as well. After some soul searching, I went back to school, earned my teaching credential in English and my Master of Education, and started my first year as a teacher shortly thereafter.

First Month Classroom Management  
I’ve had the privilege of working in a low-socioeconomic school for six years. So many of my former students have experienced situations and hardships in which no child should ever be subjected to. I think about many of my former students on a daily basis and just hope that they are okay –that they are fed, sheltered, and alive. Working with these students was challenging, but it was also a tremendous privilege because they taught me so much. One thing they taught me is that the first day of school is so critical when it comes to establishing your classroom culture. If you are too strict and cold, students won’t warm up to you. If you are too easy-going and relaxed, they won’t take your seriously. That is why I stress sincerity and mutual respect from day one.

High school students, well, teenagers in general, are fickle beings. They want the responsibility, maturity, and respect that come with being viewed as and treated as an adult, but deep down they are still holding onto their childhood. I make it a point to show my students that I respect each and every single one of them for who they are, where they’ve come from, and where they want to go. My best piece of classroom management advice is to respect each and every single one of your students, and they will see it. They will buy into you. They will buy into your class. They will buy into their potential in your class.

Back to School Class Quilt
Build classroom culture the first week back to school by creating a classroom quilt. Each student receives a square. The outcome is beautiful!
Add caption
One of the ways that I get to know each and every single one of my students the first week of school is by creating a classroom quilt with my students. Each student is given a square with four different quadrants. I instruct my students to make their square a true representation of who they are. Each quadrant represents a different category that will help me get to know these students. Once my students are done, I laminate the squares and assemble my quilt on the wall. I keep it up all year to show my students that we are all members of this community in the classroom. If you are looking for a great Back to School Activity, check out my Back to School Classroom Quilt!

This activity is included in my Back to School Activities for Secondary Students resource.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Back to School Tips for the Best Year Ever!

Let's do this! It is time to go back to school and begin an another amazing year! Here are my top three tips for having the best year ever! These tips will help with classroom management for your middle school or high school classroom. 
Back to school tips for the new school year. Make the new year memorable and amazing!

Let's make 2016 the BEST.YEAR.EVER! Back to school SALE!

Can you believe that it's time for another school year to start? No matter if this is your first year or your twentieth year teaching, the Back to School rush can be chaotic and overwhelming. Let the TPT Secondary ELA Sellers help you have the #BEST.YEAR.EVER! Join us in celebrating the TPT Back to School Sale. Visit the stores below during the #BEST.YEAR.EVER! TPT Sitewide Sale to save up to 28% off of products on August 1st-2nd:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Innovative Classroom Technology Day

Classroom teachers across the nation are including innovative technology in their everyday teaching. These teachers know and realize that technology is the future of education. Whether you are a seasoned classroom technology expert or even if you are just beginning to dip your toes into the classroom tech pool, today, Innovative Classroom Technology Day, is the perfect day to explore new technology to use in your classroom.

One new way to introduce innovative technology into your classroom is through digitally based and delivered educational resources. I love Google Classroom because I am able to easily deliver digital content and assignments to my students.

One of my favorite digital teaching resources is my SMARTePlans Growth Mindset Digital Interactive Notebook because it helps students realize and unlock their true potential.

To celebrate Innovative Classroom Technology Day, here are some informative blog posts and engaging digital lessons to use in your classroom.

What kind of innovative technology are you using in your classroom?

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Google Forms in the Classroom Part 3: 10 Ways to Use Google Forms in Your Classroom

10 ways to use Google Forms in the classroom for effective instruction and 1:1 classroom management
If you aren’t using Google Forms in your classroom yet, you and your students are missing out on the limitless possibilities Google Forms offers. And to make using Google Forms in the classroom even more teacher-friendly, Google recently announced at ISTE 2016 that Google Forms now have an automatic grading option. Here are 10 ways that I like to utilize Google Forms in my classroom.

1. Collect Data
Google Forms is a data-collection application. It is designed to collect data and transpose that information neatly into a Google Sheet. Anytime you need to collect some information from your students, fellow colleagues, or parents, Google Forms is the way to go.

2. Pre Assessment Tool
I started using Google Forms in my classroom last year as a pre-assessment tool. I would have students log into their Google Classroom accounts and take a quick 10 minute pretest. As teachers, we have so much work to grade already, and Google Forms eases that load. Plus, it provides teachers with instant access to data.

TEACHING TIP: Once the students were finished taking the test, I projected a summary of the responses on the board and went over the answers. This provides students with a visual to look at as you introduce the topic -plus, it’s anonymous.

3. Class Survey
Class surveys are an essential part of the school experience, especially in the beginning or end of the school year. Using classroom surveys in Google Forms makes data collection easy!

4. Bell Ringer/Exit Slip
I love using Google Forms for a way to collect my students’ bell ringer or exit slip work because it is quick and easy, and helps eliminate excessive paper use.

5. Final Assessment
Google Forms has several features that make creating and administering final assessments a breeze. One feature is the ability to automatically shuffle the questions. This feature helps reduce copying and cheating. Another feature is data validation. With data validation, you can set the form to only move on to the next question once the student has inputted a desired answer. The final feature is the required button. This button forces each student to at least attempt a question before submitting the test.

6. Digital Restroom Pass/Sign Out Sheet
If you create one form that students complete before they go, you will have a running record of for every time a student leaves class. This will help if you need to find a pattern. This also helps in classrooms with more mature students because they can just fill out the form and use the restroom when needed.
7. Flipped Classroom Activities and Assessments
With Google Forms, you can add in videos and pictures to help students connect with the content. Doing so helps make for a great flipped classroom lesson and activity.

8. Parent Feedback
Having one uniform Google Form for parent feedback is a great way to solicit constructive feedback from parents.

9. Confidential Student Reporting
There are so many times when students want to tell you something, but they don’t because they don not want to even be seen talking to the teacher. If something is happening in your classroom, students can fill out a confidential student reporting form.  You can still collect their name, but the confidentiality stays with you.

10. Homework collection
This year I plan to convert as many homework assignments into Google Forms as possible. As an English teacher, this shouldn’t be too difficult. If students are answering comprehension questions, they can do so in a Google Form. If students are typing a summary, they can do so in a Google Form.

Google Forms are ideal for educators trying to go as paperless as possible. How do you use Google Forms in your classroom?